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Morality and the Nature of Law$
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Kenneth Einar Himma

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198723479

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198723479.001.0001

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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: 26 July 2021

Authority, Moral Criteria of Validity, and Conceptual Confusion

Authority, Moral Criteria of Validity, and Conceptual Confusion

(p.149) 6 Authority, Moral Criteria of Validity, and Conceptual Confusion
Morality and the Nature of Law

Kenneth Einar Himma

Oxford University Press

This chapter challenges the Identification Thesis. The Identification Thesis considers our conceptual practices with respect to the term ‘authority’ and states that they entail that an institutional normative system cannot be legitimate unless it is conceptually possible for a subject to determine what its norms require without having to decide themselves what they ought to do. If our conceptual practices with respect to using the terms ‘law’ and ‘authority’ are determined by what competent speakers typically believe and say about law and authority, then those ordinary linguistic practices allow for the possibility of a legitimate legal system with moral criteria of validity. Our conceptual practices are thus inconsistent with the Identification Thesis. As the Identification Thesis expresses the core of the service conception of authority, the service conception is inconsistent with the concept of authority as it is defined by our conceptual practices.

Keywords:   Identification Thesis, conceptual practices, service conception of authority, institutional normative system, authority

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