Reason‐Giving and the Law

David Enoch

in Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606443
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729683 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law

Reason‐Giving and the Law

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A spectre is haunting legal positivists—and perhaps legal philosophers more generally—the spectre of the normativity of law. Whatever else law is, it is sometimes said, it is normative, and so whatever else a philosophical account of law accounts for, it should account for the normativity of law. Of the many different possible ways of understanding “the” problem of the normativity of law, this chapter focuses here on the one insisting on the need to explain the reason‐giving force of the law. But, it argues, once we are clear on just what reason‐giving consists in, and on what claims about the reason‐giving force of the law are at all plausible, accommodating the fact that the law gives reasons for action can be seen to be a pseudo‐problem. In particular, not only doesn't legal positivism face an especially serious challenge here, but it can be seen to have a (modest) advantage over its competitors in accommodating one way in which the law can (perhaps) give reasons for action.

Keywords: ormativity; the normativity of law; legal positivism; reasons; practical reasons

Chapter.  17288 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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