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The authority of law essays on law and morality 1979

Original surname Zaltsman; name legally changed, 1963; born March 21, 1939, in Haifa, Palestine now Israel ; son of Shmuel an electrician and Sonya a nurse; maiden name, Alterkovsky Zaltsman; married Yael Rappeport, September 20, 1963 divorced, 1981 ; children: Hebrew University of JerusalemM.

Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, lecturer in law and philosophy, 1967—70; Oxford University, Oxford, England, research fellow at Nuffield College, 1970—72, tutorial fellow at Balliol College, 1972—85, professor of philosophy of law and ad hominem chair of department, 1985—.

Member of advisory committee for Central European University philosophy department, 2000—. Israel Army, 1957—59; became sergeant. Honorary doctorate, Catholic University, Brussels, Belgium, 1993. The Concept of a Legal System: Hacker Law, Morality, and Society: Essays in Honour of H.

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Hart, Clarendon Press Oxford, England1977. The Authority of Law: Ethics in the Public Domain: Bulloch, and author of postscript H. Editor and author of introduction Christine M.

Contributor to numerous books, including Oxford Essays in Jurisprudence, edited by A. Selected Readings, edited by G. Brody, Harcourt, 2000; Moral Particularism, edited by B. Essays in Honour of James Griffin, edited by R. Essays on Themes from Harry Frankfurt, edited by S.

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Critical Assessments, edited by G. Consultant or editorial advisor to other journals, including the American Journal of Jurisprudence. Raz's books have been translated into Spanish, Japanese, Ukrainian, and Italian. A professor of the philosophy of law at Balliol College, Oxford, Joseph Raz has long been concerned with the topics of ethics and morality as they relate to politics and the legal system.

RAZ, Joseph 1939–

Said to be a promoter of "legal positivism" in his writings, as a legal theorist Raz has argued that the authority of the state is beneficial to society and that government and the legal system should, by and large, be obeyed by citizens who have the obligation to do so because it is in the best interests of everyone.

Furthermore, this authority generally must take precedent over the range of individual concepts of morality and values value pluralismwhich are subjective and thus do not always apply to everyone. Raz, a liberal optimist who believes that government and the law can be beneficial forces, argues these and other points in such books as The Authority of Law: Essays on Law and Morality and The Morality of Freedom, which have been lauded as important works in the field.

Though Raz's writing style can often make for dense and difficult reading, even for his colleagues, his arguments are often praised as well-reasoned and convincing.

Morris in an Ethics review of Ethics in the authority of law essays on law and morality 1979 Public Domain: Essays in the Morality of Law and Politics. Raz's writings establish him as one of the most important political and juridical thinkers of" modern times. Three books by Raz, The Authority of Law, The Morality of Freedom, and Ethics in the Public Domain, go far in defining the philosopher's theories on political authority and individual values and autonomy.

In The Authority of Law Raz explains the legal positivist stance that holds that moral codes and laws are not always connected but that this does not make the legal system any less legitimate; people must acknowledge that law is an essential institution for maintaining an ordered civilization. However, as David Lyons noted in his Philosophical Review article on the book, the author also "makes clear that any reasons for action provided by law do not add up to a general obligation to obey the law.

Harris concluded, "Raz's conceptual and substantive moral discussions of 'the authority of law' lie uneasily together. They appear to entail the remarkable conclusion that one who admits to an attitude of respect for the law, and also affirms that a certain legal rule exists, cannot consistently so much as consider reasons for not obeying the rule.

However, there are some limits to this power of the state over the individual, beginning when questions of personal autonomy come into play. Yet the collective good takes precedence over personal autonomy, and therefore, as Philosophical Review writer John Martin Fischer stated, "It is perhaps the most important thesis of the book that liberal rights, although based on personal autonomy, are not based on individualism.

His argumentation illuminates and ties together a wide range of issues in moral and political theory. As Morris explained, this essay collection is divided "into two parts, one largely concerned with some of the political implications of the perfectionist position defended in The Morality of Freedom, the other with various issues concerning the nature of law and the relations between law and morality.

While the author focuses on issues of freedom in his earlier book, in Ethics in the Public Domain he also discusses "the importance for the individual's well-being of belonging to a cultural group, and the role of an active life as opposed to a passive life in the good life," explained Avishai Margalit in the Journal of Philosophy.

Observing, as many other critics have, that Raz's philosophy is based on the perfectionist belief that the point of autonomy and of government is the pursuit of the good life, William Lucy further pointed out in his Modern Law Review analysis of Ethics in the Public Domain that Raz "stands in marked contrast to those accounts of liberalism offered by, inter alios, Friedrich von Hayek, John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin, which insist that political and legal decisions, practices and institutions must stand independent of any account of the good life.

Thus, for Raz, a consensus of what is good and right is essential for any society. While many critics have admired Raz's original philosophical arguments, some have found his theories so abstract that they remain merely intellectual exercises.

A central strength of his theory is its acutely logical structure and elegance. But this is bought at the price of a high level of abstraction and detachment from reference to practical politics.

Indeed, although one cannot help but admire Raz's facility at constructing beautifully crafted arguments, one also cannot help but feel dismayed that so much effort has so often gone into the production of airless theoretical castles, indifferent to embodied living. Essays in the Morality of Law and Politics, p.

Morris, review of Ethics in the Public Domain, pp. Modern Law Review, July, 1981, J.

Harris, review of The Authority of Law, pp. Philosophical Quarterly, October, 1971, D. An Introduction to the Theory of Legal System, pp. Whitely, review of Practical Reason and Norms, pp. Political Theory, May, 1996, Nancy L. Rosenblum, review of Ethics in the Public Domain, pp.