Law's Authority is not a Claim to Preemption

In Wilfrid J. Waluchow & Stefan Sciaraffa (eds.), Philosophical foundations of the nature of law. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. pp. 51 (2013)
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Joseph Raz argues that legal authority includes a claim by the law to replace subjects’ contrary reasons. I reply that this cannot be squared with the existence of choice-of-evils defenses to criminal prosecutions, nor with the view that the law has gaps (which Raz shares). If the function of authority is to get individuals to comply better with reason than they would do if left to their own devices, it would not make sense for law to claim both to pre-empt our contrary reasons and to leave open spaces or catch-all exceptions which we must use our own devices to fill.



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Kenneth M. Ehrenberg
University of Surrey

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References found in this work

Practical reason and norms.Joseph Raz - 1975 - London: Hutchinson.
The morality of freedom.J. Raz - 1988 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (1):108-109.
The authority of law: essays on law and morality.Joseph Raz - 1979 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Practical Reason and Norms.Joseph Raz - 1975 - Law and Philosophy 12 (3):329-343.

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