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Joseph Raz

Joseph Raz - 20090224.jpg
Raz, February 2009
Born (1939-03-21) 21 March 1939 (age 83)
Died(2022-05-02)May 2, 2022
Alma materHebrew University of Jerusalem
Balliol College, Oxford
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolLegal positivism
Perfectionist liberalism
Main interests
Legal and political philosophy
Notable ideas
Perfectionist liberalism
Central concepts
Civil society
Political particularism
Positive rights
Social capital
Value pluralism
Important thinkers
Benjamin Barber
Gad Barzilai
Robert N. Bellah
Phillip Blond
Amitai Etzioni
William Galston
Mark Kuczewski
Alasdair MacIntyre
Stephen Marglin
José Pérez Adán
Costanzo Preve
Robert D. Putnam
Joseph Raz
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Michael J. Sandel
Charles Taylor
Michael Walzer
Related topics
Christian democracy
Radical centrism
Social democracy
Joseph Raz FBA (/rɑːz/; Hebrew: יוסף רז; born 21 March 1939, died 2 May 2022) was an Israeli legal, moral and political philosopher. He was one of the most prominent advocates of legal positivism and is well known for his conception of perfectionist liberalism. Raz spent most of his career as a professor of philosophy of law at the University of Oxford associated with Balliol College, and was latterly a part-time professor of law at Columbia University Law School and a part-time professor at King's College London. He received the Tang Prize in Rule of Law in 2018.
1 Life and career
2 Philosophical work
3 Honors and awards
4 Books
5 See also
6 Notes
7 References
8 External links
Life and career
Born in Mandatory Palestine in 1939, Joseph Raz graduated in 1963 from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a Magister Juris (summa cum laude). Later, with funds provided by the Hebrew University, Raz pursued a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford under the supervision of H. L. A. Hart. Raz had met Hart earlier at a conference in Israel, impressing him by pointing out a flaw in his reasoning that had previously eluded him; Hart encouraged him to go to Oxford for further study. Raz studied at Balliol College and completed his DPhil in 1967.
He then returned to Israel to teach at the Hebrew University as a lecturer in the Faculty of Law and Department of Philosophy. In 1971, he was tenured and promoted to Senior Lecturer. In 1972, he returned to Balliol as a Fellow and Tutor in Law, becoming a Professor of Philosophy of Law, Oxford University, from 1985 to 2006, and then a Research Professor from 2006 to 2009. Since 2002 he has also been a Professor in the Law School at Columbia University. Raz, now retired from Oxford, is currently also a research professor of law at King's College London.
Raz passed away on the 2nd of May 2022 peacefully at Charing Cross Hospital in his sleep. The Oxford Law Faculty called him "one of the last remaining giants of jurisprudence and philosophy".
Philosophical work
A pupil of H. L. A. Hart, Raz was important in continuing the development of legal positivism both before and since Hart's death. Raz was also co-editor of a second edition of Hart's The Concept of Law with a postscript including Hart's responses to other philosophers' criticisms of his work.
Raz's first book, The Concept of a Legal System, was based on his doctoral thesis. A later book, The Morality of Freedom won two prizes: the 1987 W.J.M. Mackenzie Book Prize from the Political Studies Association of the United Kingdom, awarded to the best book in political science each calendar year; and the 1988 Elaine and David Spitz Book Prize from the Conference for the Study of Political Thought, New York, awarded annually for the best book in liberal and/or democratic theory that had been published two years earlier. The book develops a conception of perfectionist liberalism.
Raz argued for a distinctive understanding of legal commands as exclusionary reasons for action and for the "service conception" of authority, according to which those subject to an authority "can benefit by its decisions only if they can establish their existence and content in ways which do not depend on raising the very same issues which the authority is there to settle." This, in turn, supports Raz's argument for legal positivism, in particular "the sources thesis", "the idea that an adequate test for the existence and content of law must be based only on social facts, and not on moral arguments."
Raz was acknowledged by his contemporaries as being one of the most important legal philosophers of his generation. He authored and edited twelve books, namely The Concept of a Legal System (1970), Practical Reason and Norms (1975), The Authority of Law (1979), The Morality of Freedom (1986), Authority (1990), Ethics in the Public Domain (1994), Engaging Reason (1999), Value, Respect and Attachment (2001), The Practice of Value (2003), Between Authority and Interpretation (2009), From Normativity to Responsibility (2011) and The Roots of Normativity (2022). His most recent work deals less with legal theory and more with political philosophy and practical reasoning. In moral theory, Raz defended value pluralism and the idea that various values are incommensurable.
Raz's work has been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in such cases as Imperial Tobacco v. British Columbia and Sauvé v. Canada (Chief Electoral Officer).
Several of Raz's students became important legal and moral philosophers, including two current Professors in Jurisprudence at Oxford, Leslie Green and Timothy Endicott, and the former professor of Jurisprudence John Gardner.
Honors and awards
Raz was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1987 and of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 1992. He was awarded Honorary Doctorates by the Catholic University of Brussels, 1993, by King's College London, 2009, and by Hebrew University, 2014. In 2005 he received the International Prize for Legal Research 'Hector Fix-Zamudio' from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and in 2009 a Vice-Presidency Award from the Law Society of University College Dublin. In 2018 he received the prestigious Tang Prize in Rule of Law from Taiwan.
In 2000–2001, he gave the Tanner Lectures on Human Values on "The Practice of Value" at the University of California Berkeley.
Practical reason and norms (2 ed.). Princeton University Press. 1990 . ISBN 0691078513.
The Authority of Law: Essays on Law and Morality (2 ed.). Oxford University Press. 2009 . ISBN 9780199573561.
The Morality of Freedom. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1986. ISBN 0198247729.
Ethics in the Public Domain: Essays in the Morality of Law and Politics (Rev. ed.). Clarendon Press. 1996 . ISBN 0198260695.
Engaging Reason: On the Theory of Value and Action. Oxford University Press. 1999. ISBN 9780199248001.
Value, Respect and Attachment. Cambridge University Press. 2001. ISBN 052180180X.
The Practice of Value. Oxford University Press. 2003. ISBN 0199261474.
Between Authority and Interpretation: On the Theory of Law and Practical Reason. Oxford University Press. 2009. ISBN 9780199562688.
From Normativity to Responsibility. Oxford University Press. 2011. ISBN 9780199693818.
The Roots of Normativity. Oxford University Press. 2022. ISBN 9780192847003.
See also
Philosophy of law
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