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Between Authority and InterpretationOn the Theory of Law and Practical Reason$
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Joseph Raz

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199562688

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562688.001.0001

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On the Nature of Law

On the Nature of Law

(p.91) 4 On the Nature of Law
Between Authority and Interpretation

Joseph Raz (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with a discussion of the universality of the theses of the general theory of law. It argues that all successful legal theories are parochial; that success can be obtained only through being parochial. It then focuses on the consequences of parochialism, law as the authoritative voice of a political community, and the instrumental and the non-instrumental views of law. The chapter also discusses the connection between authority and interpretation. First, it discusses the way in which the connection between law and authority leads to a dual interest in the study of law: an interest in the process leading to the authoritative laying down or endorsement of a standard, and an interest in how the fact that a standard has authoritatively been laid down affects its standing. Second, it considers consider the main way in which the fact that law is authoritative affects its interpretation. Finally, it considers the way in which the authoritative nature of law makes interpretation central to legal reasoning.

Keywords:   theory of law, legal philosophy, parochialism, authority, interpretation, legal reasoning

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