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Review Article: Democracy, Law and Authority

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Chapter Summary

The author concentrates on a single essay, Jeremy Waldron's 'Authority for Officials' and on Joseph Raz 's reply. Such a focus is justified by virtue of the fact that this chapter pertains to legal authority, and thus to one of Raz's seminal contributions to legal philosophy, and throws light on a growing challenge for Raz's service conception of authority. This challenge is that of democracy and, of accommodating the importance of law-making procedures and their publicity for legal legitimacy. In conditions of reasonable disagreement about matters of common concern, it is in the publicity and the procedural nature of legal settlements that much of the justification of law's authority lies. The particular importance of Waldron's essay in the collection is attested by the length of Raz's response, and his concession of a 'condition for the legitimacy of an authority' following his acknowledgement of the force of 'one of Waldron's criticisms'.

Keywords: democracy; Jeremy Waldron; Joseph Raz; law-making procedures; legal authority



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