Joseph Raz presents a penetrating exploration of the interdependence of value, reason, and the will. The essays illuminate a wide range of questions concerning fundamental aspects of human thought and action. The book is a summation of many years of original, compelling, and influential work by a major contemporary philosopher.
What are our duties or rights? How should we act? What are we responsible for? Joseph Raz examines the philosophical issues underlying these everyday questions. He explores the nature of normativity--the reasoning behind certain beliefs and emotions about how we should behave--and offers a novel account of responsibility.
The paper distinguishes between instrumental reasons and instrumental rationality. It argues that instrumental reasons are not reasons to take the means to our ends. It further argues that there is no distinct form of instrumental reasoning or of instrumental rationality. In part the argument proceeds through a sympathetic examination of suggestions made by M. Bratman, J. Broome, and J. Wallace, though the accounts of instrumental rationality offered by the last two are criticised.
In the past twenty years Joseph Raz has consolidated his reputation as one of the most acute, inventive, and energetic scholars currently at work in analytic moral and political theory. This new collection of essays forms a representative selection of his most significant contributions to a number of important debates, including the extent of political duty and obligation, and the issue of self-determination. He also examines aspects of the common (and ancient) theme of the relations between law and morality. This (...) volume of essays, available in one volume for the first time, will be essential to legal philosophers and political theorists. (shrink)
Can there be a theory of law? -- Two views of the nature of the theory of law : a partial comparison -- On the nature of law -- The problem of authority : revisiting the service conception -- About morality and the nature of law -- Incorporation by law -- Reasoning with rules -- Why interpret? -- Interpretation without retrieval -- Intention in interpretation -- Interpretation : pluralism and innovation -- On the authority and interpretation of constitutions : some (...) preliminaries -- Postema on law's autonomy and public practical reasons : a critical comment. (shrink)
Legitimate authority -- The claims of law -- Legal positivism and the sources of law -- Legal reasons, sources, and gaps -- The identity of legal systems -- The institutional nature of law -- Kelsen's theory of the basic norm -- Legal validity -- The functions of law -- Law and value in adjudication -- The rule of law and its virtue -- The obligation to obey the law -- Respect for law -- A right to dissent? : civil disobedience (...) -- A right to dissent? : conscientious objection --The purity of the pure theory -- The argument from justice, or how not to reply to legal positivism. (shrink)
The problem I have in mind is the problem of the possible justification of subjecting one's will to that of another, and of the normative standing of demands to do so. The account of authority that I offered, many years ago, under the title of the service conception of authority, addressed this issue, and assumed that all other problems regarding authority are subsumed under it. Many found the account implausible. It is thin, relying on very few ideas. It may well (...) appear to be too thin, and to depart too far from many of the ideas that have gained currency in the history of reflection on authority. The present article modifies some aspects the account, and defends it against some criticism made against it. (shrink)
The paper argues that normative reasons are of two fundamental kinds, practical which are value related, and adaptive, which are not related to any value, but indicate how our beliefs and emotions should adjust to fit how things are in the world. The distinction is applied and defended, in part through an additional distinction between standard and non-standard reasons (for actions, intentions, emotions or belief).
Using the accounts of Gewirth and Griffin as examples, the article criticises accounts of human rights as those are understood in human rights practices, which regard them as rights all human beings have in virtue of their humanity. Instead it suggests that (with Rawls) human rights set the limits to the sovereignty of the state, but criticises Rawls conflation of sovereignty with legitimate authority. The resulting conception takes human rights, like other rights, to be contingent on social conditions, and in (...) particular on the nature of the international system. (shrink)
The privilege of having three sets of extensive and hard-hitting comments on one's work is as welcome as it is rare, and especially so on this occasion as the lectures were, for me, but thefirst (well, not entirely first) stab at a subject I hope to explore at greater length. The reflectionsthat follow will respond to some of the criticisms, but will not be a point by point reply. I will use the occasion to clarify some obscurities in the lectures, (...) and to contrast my view with some of my critics' own positions. I will proceed thematically, starting with some observations about method and about ontology, proceeding to explore several questions about the relations between social dependence and relativism, between genre, value, and normativity, and concluding with a fewwords on pluralism and liberal values. (shrink)
Joseph Raz presents a penetrating exploration of the interdependence of value, reason, and the will. These essays illuminate a wide range of questions concerning fundamental aspects of human thought and action. Engaging Reason is a summation of many years of original, compelling, and influential work by a major contemporary philosopher.
What is special about legal reasoning? In what way is it distinctive? How does it differ from reasoning in medicine, or engineering, physics, or everyday life? The answers range from the very ambitious to the modest. The ambitious claim that there is a special and distinctive legal logic, or legal ways of reasoning, modes of reasoning which set the law apart from all other disciplines. Opposing them are the modest, who claim that there is nothing special to legal reasoning, that (...) reason is the same in all domains. According to them, only the contents of the law differentiate it from other areas of inquiry, whereas its mode of reasoning is the one common to all domains of inquiry. (shrink)
The paper deals with the possibility of a theory of the nature of law as such, a theory which will be necessarily true of all law. It explores the relations between explanations of concepts and of the things they are concepts of, the possibility that the law has essential properties, and the possibility that the law changes its nature over time, and that what is law at a given place and time depends on the culture and concepts of that place (...) and time. It also considers the possibility of understanding the institutions, such as the law, of cultures whose concepts are alien to us. The position advocated offers a reconciliation of ways in which a theory of the nature of law is parochial with its claim to be universal. (shrink)
The Practice of Value explores the nature of value and its relation to the social and historical conditions under which human agents live. At the core of the book are the Tanner Lectures delivered at Berkeley in 2001 by Joseph Raz, who has been one of the leading figures in moral and legal philosophy since the 1970's. Raz argues that values depend importantly on social practices, but that we can make sense of this dependence without falling back on cultural relativism. (...) In response, three eminent philosophers, Christine Korsgaard, Robert Pippin, and Bernard Williams, offer their own distinctive reflections on the connections between value and practice. The book begins with an introduction by Jay Wallace, setting the scene for what follows, and ends with a response from Raz to his commentators. The result is a fascinating debate, accessible to readers throughout and beyond philosophy, about the relations between human values and human life. (shrink)
In support of my longstanding claim that the traditional divide between natural law and legal positivist theories of law, the present paper explores a variety of necessary connections between law and morality which are consistent with theories of law traditionally identified as positivist.
The paper has dual aim: to analyse the structure of negligence, and to use it to offer an explanation of responsibility (for actions, omissions, consequences) in terms of the relations which must exist between the action (omission, etc.) and the agents powers of rational agency if the agent is responsible for the action. The discussion involves reflections on the relations between the law and the morality of negligence, the difference between negligence and strict liability, the role of excuses and the (...) grounds of duties to pay damages. (shrink)
My purpose here is to examine the question of how the law can be incorporated within morality and how the existence of the law can impinge on our moral rights and duties, a question (or questions) which is a central aspect of the broad question of the relation between law and morality. My conclusions cast doubts on the incorporation thesis, that is, the view that moral principles can become part of the law of the land by incorporation.
In Law's Empire Prof. Ronald Dworkin has advanced a new theory of law, complex and intriguing. He calls it law as integrity. But in some ways the more radical and surprising claim he makes is that not only were previous legal philosophers mistaken about the nature of law, they were also mistaken about the nature of the philosophy of law or jurisprudence. Perhaps it is possible to summarize his main contentions on the nature of jurisprudence in three theses: First, jurisprudence (...) is interpretive: “General theories of law… aim to interpret the main point and structure of legal practice” . Second, legal philosophy cannot be a semantic account of the word “law.” Legal philosophers “cannot produce useful semantic theories of law” . Third, legal philosophy or jurisprudence “is the general part of adjudication, silent prologue to any decision at law”. (shrink)
Particularism's model of explanation is challenged on the ground that a sensible intelligibility principle requires that there must be an explanation for the difference between a good and a bad action. Raz is concerned with what it is to be guided by reason, as well as with the results of the fact that reason can often undermine particular outcomes. What determines the moral status of an action must extend beyond what the agent's reason for acting is. It is argued that (...) there is a clear distinction between the evaluative and guiding functions of reasons. (shrink)
Hacker, P. M. S. Hart's philosophy of law.--Baker, G. P. Defeasibility and meaning.--Dworkin, R. M. No right answer?-Lucas, J. R. The phenomenon of law.--Honoré, A. M. Real laws.--Summers, R. S. Naïve instrumentalism and the law.--Marshall, G. Positivism, adjudication, and democracy.--Cross, R. The House of Lords and the rules of precedent.--Kenny, A. J. P. Intention and mens rea in murder.--Mackie, J. L. The grounds of responsibility.--MacCormick, D. N. Rights in legislation.--Raz, J. Promises and obligations.--Foot, P. R. Approval and disapproval.--Finnis, J. M. (...) Scepticism, self-refutation, and the good of truth.--Barry, B. M. Justice between generations.--Feinberg, J. Harm and self-interest. (shrink)
In previous writings, I joined those who take the view that action with an intention is an action for a reason, where whatever value there is in the action is a reason for it. This paper sketches the role of reasons and intentions in leading to action with an intention. Section 1 explains that though belief in the value of the intended action is not an essential constituent of intentions, nevertheless when humans act with an intention they act in the (...) belief that there is value in the action. Section 2 explains the relative role of value and intention in “producing” the action, and relates their role to that of motivation. (shrink)
I will provisionally take the Guise of the Good thesis to consist of three propositions: (1) Intentional actions are actions performed for reasons, as those are seen by the agents. (2) Specifying the intention which makes an action intentional identifies central features of the reason(s) for which the action is performed. (3) Reasons for action are such reasons by being facts which establish that the action has some value. From these it is said to follow that (4) Intentional actions are (...) actions taken in, and because of, a belief that there is some good in them. I will examine reasons for, and objections to these theses, and offer a defence of a modified version of the thesis. (shrink)
A thesis familiar by being as often disputed as defended has it that intentional action is action for a reason. The present paper contributes to the defence of a weaker version of it, namely: Acting with an intention or a purpose is acting (as things appear to one) for a reason.
Part I defines the notion, Distinguishing between it an equality of value, And analysing some of the sources of incommensurability. Part ii argues that not only the roughly equal can be incommensurate, And for the possibility of significant incommensurabilities. Part iii argues that the common denial of the comparability of various options provides sufficient evidence that they are so.
Human agents act for reasons that contribute to their good. However, in our explanation of why agents act for reasons that depend on what they value, we encounter the problem of situations in which goods are neither better than others nor are of equal value. The incommensurability of value can then be seen to lead to an incommensurability of reasons for action. Examining rationalist and classical conceptions of human agency, Raz uses the presence of incommensurability to understand how this affects (...) the relation between reasons and the will, and its effects on our practical reasoning and deliberation. A proper understanding of human agency will take for granted that the goodness of options are incommensurate and that explanations concerning what we want cannot solely be accomplished in terms of reasons. (shrink)
"Well-being" signifies the good life, the life which is good for the person whose life it is. I have argued that well-being consists in a wholehearted and successful pursuit of valuable relationships and goals. This view, a little modified, is defended , but the main aim of the article is to consider the role of well-being in practical thought. In particular I will examine a suggestion which says that when we care about people, and when we ought to care about (...) people, what we do, or ought to, care about is their well-being. The suggestion is indifferent to who cares and who is cared for. People may care, perhaps ought to care, about themselves, and they may care, perhaps ought to care, about people with whom they have, or ought to have special bonds, and finally they may care, perhaps ought to care, about other people generally. In all cases what they care, or ought to care, about is the wellbeing of the relevant people, themselves or others. I will argue that the suggestion is misleading, and the role of well-being in both personal and ethical life is much more modest. (shrink)
Stephen Darwall's understanding of what kind of life is a good life, good for the person whose life it is, belongs in the same family as, among others, Scanlon's and mine. It is a family of views about well-being which descends from Aristotle, and Darwall has much of interest to say about the good life, and particularly about Aristotle's views on the subject. Many of the observations central to his position seem to me cogent, and are shared by other writers. (...) These include three important propositions: 1. that a good life, one which is good for those whose life it is, is not necessarily the same as a life which they think is good for them, nor does it necessarily consist in their desires being satisfied, nor in the satisfaction of any subset of their desires . 2. that people aim or intend to do what is worth doing, to have relationships worth having, and engage in goals worth pursuing, and so on, and that all of these, and their combination, are distinct from having a good life , and 3. that what makes the well-being of people worth pursuing, to the extent that it is, what provides reasons for those same people and for others to protect or promote it, is that people are valuable in themselves. (shrink)
If promises are binding there must be a reason to do as one promised. The paper is motivated by belief that there is a difficulty in explaining what that reason is. It arises because the reasons that promising creates are content-independent. Similar difficulties arise regarding other content-independent reasons, though their solution need not be the same. -/- Section One introduces an approach to promises, and outlines an account of them that I have presented before. It forms the backdrop for the (...) ensuing discussion. The problems discussed in the paper arise, albeit in slightly modified ways, for various other accounts as well. It is, however, helpful to use a specific account as a springboard leading to one explanation of promissory reasons, namely of the reasons that valid promises constitute for performing the promised act (Section Two). We can call it the bare reasons account. Sections Three and Four will raise difficulties with that account, leading to its abandonment in favour of an alternative in Sections Five and Six. (shrink)