Three Conceptions of Practical Authority

Jurisprudence 2 (1):143-160 (2011)
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Joseph Raz’s much discussed service conception of practical authority has recently come under attack from Stephen Darwall, who proposes that we instead adopt a second- personal conception of practical authority.1 We believe that the best place to start understanding practical authority is with a pared back conception of it, as simply a species of normative authority more generally, where this species is picked out merely by the fact that the normative authority in question is authority in relation to action, rather than belief. We do not wish to deny that there might be properties of practical authority (as distinct from the species of authority that is concerned with belief) that are peculiar to it, but, unlike both Raz and Darwall, we do not believe that such features play a role in defining or delimiting practical authority
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