Oxford University Press (2018)

Noam Gur
Queen Mary University of London
This book investigates law's interaction with practical reasons. What difference can legal requirements—e.g. traffic rules, tax laws, or work safety regulations—make to normative reasons relevant to our action? Do they give reasons for action that should be weighed among all other reasons? Or can they, instead, exclude and take the place of some other reasons? The book critically examines some of the existing answers and puts forward an alternative understanding of law's interaction with practical reasons. At the outset, two competing positions are pitted against each other: Joseph Raz's view that (legitimate) legal authorities have pre-emptive force, namely that they give reasons for action that exclude some other reasons; and an antithesis, according to which law-making institutions (even those that meet prerequisites of legitimacy) can at most provide us with reasons that compete in weight with opposing reasons for action. These two positions are examined from several perspectives, such as justified disobedience cases, law's conduct-guiding function in contexts of bounded rationality, and the phenomenology associated with authority. It is found that, although each of the above positions offers insight into the conundrum at hand, both suffer from significant flaws. These observations form the basis on which an alternative position is put forward and defended. According to this position, the existence of a reasonably just and well-functioning legal system constitutes a reason that fits neither into a model of ordinary reasons for action nor into a pre-emptive paradigm—it constitutes a reason to adopt an (overridable) disposition that inclines its possessor towards compliance with the system's requirements.
Keywords legal normativity  practical reason  pre-emption  exclusionary reasons  Joseph Raz  cognitive biases  authority  law-abiding attitudes  disposition to comply with legal requirements  weighing reasons
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy this book $63.74 used (24% off)   $71.92 new (14% off)   $84.00 from Amazon    Amazon page
ISBN(s) 0199659877   9780199659876
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Political Legitimacy.Fabienne Peter - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Debate: Procedure and Outcome in the Justification of Authority.Daniel Viehoff - 2011 - Journal of Political Philosophy 19 (2):248-259.
Law and Habits.Sylvie Delacroix - 2017 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 37 (3):660-686.
Clarifying the Natural Law Thesis.Jonathan Crowe - 2012 - Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy 37:159-181.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

In defense of exclusionary reasons.N. P. Adams - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (1):235-253.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Normative Weighing and Legal Guidance of Conduct.Noam Gur - 2012 - Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 25 (2):359-391.
Understanding Standing: Permission to Deflect Reasons.Ori Herstein - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (12):3109-3132.
Authority, Accountability, and Preemption.Stephen Darwall - 2011 - Jurisprudence 2 (1):103-119.
Weighing Reasons.Garrett Cullity - 2019 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
In Defense of Practical Reasons for Belief.Stephanie Leary - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):529-542.
Critical Notice: From Raz’s Nexus to Legal Normativity.Christopher Essert - 2012 - Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 25 (2):465-482.
An Essay on the Desire-Based Reasons Model.Attila Tanyi - 2006 - Dissertation, Central European University


Added to PP index

Total views
136 ( #88,284 of 2,533,753 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
33 ( #26,993 of 2,533,753 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes