How Law Claims, What Law Claims

John Gardner

in Institutionalized Reason

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199582068
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739354 | DOI:
How Law Claims, What Law Claims

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  • Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law


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Many people think that law, wherever it may be found, makes certain characteristic assertions, claims, self-presentations, or promises. In recent times, such an idea has been endorsed and relied upon by writers as otherwise diverse as Drucilla Cornell, John Finnis, Philip Selznick, and Jacques Derrida. But it has come to be particularly associated with the work of Joseph Raz and Robert Alexy. Both Raz and Alexy believe that it is part of the very nature of law that all law makes a moral claim. They disagree about what exactly the content of the moral claim is. Raz says it is a claim to moral authority. Alexy says it is a claim to moral correctness. This chapter assesses the thesis on which Raz and Alexy converge, namely that the law claims some moral standing for itself. Is this thesis true? Is it even intelligible? It is argued that this thesis is not only intelligible but true. The chapter attempts to allay various doubts and identifies problems with how the thesis has been presented that may have contributed to the spread of those doubts.

Keywords: legal philosophy; Joseph Raz; Robert Alexy; moral authority; moral correctness; moral standing; moral claims

Chapter.  9985 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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