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Law and Life in Common$
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Timothy Macklem

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198735816

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198735816.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 January 2022

The Problem of Law

The Problem of Law

(p.1) 1 The Problem of Law
Law and Life in Common

Timothy Macklem

Oxford University Press

It is a necessary ambition of any legal system, and of the laws that constitute it, to forge some kind of life in common. Yet the content of law, however identified and understood (as to which philosophers of law disagree), cannot in itself describe or shape a life in common, because the reasons for action that law offers us normally have no capacity to defeat all other reasons, and so establish definitively what the addressees of law should do. This much is explicit in the work of Joseph Raz, yet implicit in the work of both Ronald Dworkin and his radical critics, which, on examination, leave addressees of law open to different responses to its terms. The problem is this: how can the law secure concerted action when its terms are such that each one of us often has no better reason to observe them than not to do so?

Keywords:   life in common, reasons for action, undefeated reasons, Raz, Dworkin

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