Legal Theory 4 (1):1-20 (1998)

Joseph Raz
Columbia University
Postema's article discusses, lucidly and probingly, a central jurisprudential idea, which he calls the autonomy thesis. In its general form it is shared by many writers who otherwise support divergent accounts of the nature of law. It is, according to Postema, a thesis that is meant to account for a core idea, that the law's “defining aim is to … unify public political judgment and coordinate social interaction.” In some form or another this core idea is probably supported by Postema himself. However, in this article his concern is to criticize what he takes to be the widespread belief that it is explained by the autonomy thesis. The autonomy thesis is flawed and must be rejected. In arguing to that conclusion he succumbs to one of the unattractive tendencies of contemporary legal and political philosophy, namely he does not discuss anyone's view, but a family of views. This allows one to construct one's target by selecting features from a variety of authors so that the combined picture is in fact no one's view, and all those cited as adhering to it would disagree with it.
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DOI 10.1017/S1352325200000896
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Interpretation and Coherence in Legal Reasoning.Julie Dickson - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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