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.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationOxford Studies in Philosophy of Law
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191729683
ISBN (Print)9780199606443
StatePublished - 22 Sep 2011


  • Legal positivism
  • Ormativity
  • Practical reasons
  • Reasons
  • The normativity of law

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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