Legal Reasons, Sources, and Gaps<sup>*</sup>

Joseph Raz

in The authority of law

Published in print August 1979 | ISBN: 9780198253457
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681400 | DOI:
Legal Reasons, Sources, and Gaps*

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This chapter explores the consequences of the legal positivism which regards law as created by social sources so that the existence and content of legal systems can be determined on the basis of social fact without resort to moral argument. It defends the source-based conception of law from accusations of incoherence and explains why and in what sense all legal systems contain gaps calling for the exercise of discretion and for reliance on extra-legal considerations by courts in certain cases.

Keywords: legal positivism; law; legal systems; social sources; social fact; moral argument; gaps; discretion

Chapter.  9852 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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