Between Authority and Interpretation

Between Authority and Interpretation : On the Theory of Law and Practical Reason

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In this book Joseph Raz develops his views on some of the central questions in practical philosophy: legal, political and moral. The book provides an overview of Raz's work on jurisprudence and the nature of law in the context of broader questions in the philosophy of practical reason.

The book opens with a discussion of methodological issues, focusing on understanding the nature of jurisprudence, asking how the nature of law can be explained, and how the success of a legal theory can be established.

The book then addresses central questions on the nature of law, its relation to morality, the nature and justification of authority, and the nature of legal reasoning. It explains how legitimate law, while being a branch of applied morality, is also a relatively autonomous system, which has the potential to bridge moral differences among its subjects. Raz offers responses to some critical reactions to his theory of authority, adumbrating and modifying the theory to meet some of them.

The final part of the book brings together for the first time Raz's work on the nature of interpretation in law and the humanities. It includes a new essay explaining interpretive pluralism and the possibility of interpretive innovation.

Taken together, the essays in the volume offer a valuable introduction for students coming for the first time to Raz's work in the philosophy of law, and an original contribution to many of the current debates in practical philosophy.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 424 pages
  • 144 x 223 x 30mm | 650g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199562687
  • 9780199562688
  • 1,075,879

Table of contents

1. Introduction ; I: METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES ; 2. Can there be a Theory of Law? ; 3. Two Views of the Nature of the Theory of Law: A Partial Comparison ; II: LAW, AUTHORITY AND MORALITY ; 4. On the Nature of Law ; 5. The Problem of Authority: Revisiting the Service Conception ; 6. About Morality and the Nature of Law ; 7. Incorporation by Law ; 8. Reasoning with Rules ; III: INTERPRETATION ; 9. Why Interpret? ; 10. Interpretation Without Retrieval ; 11. Intention in Interpretation ; 12. Interpretation: Pluralism and Innovation ; 13. On the Authority and Interpretation of Constitutions: Some Preliminaries ; APPENDIX ; 14. Postema on Law's Autonomy and Public Practical Reasons: A Critical Comment ; Index
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Review quote indispensable contribution. * Scott Hershovitz, Mind * It will certainly be a much-discussed work for years to come...Raz's book is divided into four main parts, dealing with a wide range of issues in impressive depth...The significance of the book is the fact that it is, to my knowledge, the first of Raz's books that contains extensive discussion of methodological issues in jurisprudence and issues concerning interpretation * Peter S.C. Chau, University of Oxford, Law and Philosophy Journal * Raz's argument is clever, and because it shows how little the case for interpreting laws in accord with the intentions of those who made them depends on the nature of law, it is an indispensable contribution to a literature that is all to often the opposite. * Scott Hershovitz, Mind *
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About Joseph Raz

Joseph Raz has been teaching in Oxford since 1972. He has held a chair in the philosophy of law since 1985, and has been a Research Professor since 2006. He has also held a professorship at Columbia University since 2002. He is a fellow of the British Academy and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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14 ratings
3.57 out of 5 stars
5 14% (2)
4 36% (5)
3 43% (6)
2 7% (1)
1 0% (0)
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