Assessing Law's Claim to Authority

Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 31 (3):481-501 (2011)
Abstract
The idea that law claims authority (LCA) has recently been forcefully criticized by a number of authors. These authors present a new and intriguing objection, arguing that law cannot be said to claim authority if such a claim is not justified. That is, these authors argue that the view that law does not have authority viciously conflicts with the view that law claims authority. I will call this the normative critique of LCA. In this article, I assess the normative critique of LCA, focusing predominantly on the arguments presented by its most incisive proponent Philip Soper. I defend a twofold conclusion. First, LCA, understood roughly along the lines put forward by Joseph Raz, is part of the most attractive analysis of law. Second, proponents of the normative critique, and in particular Soper, are committed to accepting LCA.
Keywords Law's claim to authority  Authority  Jurisprudence  Soper  Natural law  Legal positivism  Political obligation
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