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.
Ranging over central issues of morals and politics, this book discusses the nature of freedom and authority. It examines the role of value-neutrality, rights, equality, and the prevention of harm in the liberal tradition, and relates them to fundamental moral questions such as the relation of values to social forms, the comparability of values, and the significance of personal commitments.
Raz begins by presenting an analysis of the concept of moral authority. He then develops a detailed explanation of the nature of law and legal systems. Within this framework Raz then examines the areas of legal thought that have been viewed as impregnated with moral values.
Engaging Reason offers a penetrating examination of a set of fundamental questions about human thought and action. In these tightly argued and interconnected essays Joseph Raz examines the nature of normativity, reason, and the will; the justification of reason; and the objectivity of value. He argues for the centrality, but also demonstrates the limits, of reason in action and belief. He suggests that our life is most truly our own when our various emotions, hopes, desires, intentions, and actions are guided by reason. He explores the universality of value and of principles of reason on one side, and on the other side their dependence on social practices, and their susceptibility to change and improvement. He concludes with an illuminating explanation of self-interest and its relation to impersonal values in general and to morality in particular. Joseph Raz has been since the 1970s a prominent, original, and widely admired contributor to the study of norms, values, and reasons, not just in philosophy but in political and legal theory. This volume displays the power and unity of his thought on these subjects, and will be essential reading for all who work on them.
Practical Reason and Norms focuses on three problems: In what way are rules normative, and how do they differ from ordinary reasons? What makes normative systems systematic? What distinguishes legal systems, and in what consists their normativity? All three questions are answered by taking reasons as the basic normative concept, and showing the distinctive role reasons have in every case, thus paving the way to a unified account of normativity. Rules are a structure of reasons to perform the required act and an exclusionary reason not to follow some competing reasons. Exclusionary reasons are explained, and used to unlock the secrets of orders, promises, and decisions as well as rules. Games are used to exemplify normative systems. Inevitably, the analysis extends to some aspects of normative discourse, which is truth-apt, but with a diminished assertoric force.
Reason and Value collects fifteen brand-new papers by leading contemporary philosophers on themes from the moral philosophy of Joseph Raz. The subtlety and power of Raz's reflections on ethical topics - including especially his explorations of the connections between practical reason and the theory of value - make his writings a fertile source for anyone working in this area. The volume honours Raz's accomplishments in the area of ethical theorizing, and will contribute toan enhanced appreciation of the significance of his work for the subject.