Elephants and Flashlights

On Martin on Raz


  • André L. S. Coelho Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais


Joseph Raz, Margaret Martin, adjudication, exclusive legal positivism


The paper responds to some of Margaret Martin’s criticisms to Joseph Raz’s legal theory in her book Judging Positivism, especially the alleged change in Raz’s account on adjudication and the alleged negative impact of that change on Raz’s legal theory. In order to provide these answers, an approach is adopted that takes analytic legal theories as hypothetical microverses willing to see Law exclusively from the perspective of one of its multiple aspects, ignoring all others, compared in the text to the accounts of blind men touching the elephant in a famous Indian parable, a metaphor completed with the idea of a rotation of the flashlight with which the elephant is examined in each theory.


Hart, H.L.A., 1994: The Concept of Law. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Martin, Margaret, 2014: Judging Positivism. Oxford: Hart Publishing.

Raz, Joseph, 1995: Ethics in the Public Domain: Essays in the Morality of Law and Politics. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

__________, 2002: Practical Reason and Norms, third ed. New York: Oxford University Press.



How to Cite

Coelho, A. L. S. (2021). Elephants and Flashlights: On Martin on Raz. Isonomía - Revista De teoría Y filosofía Del Derecho, (55). Retrieved from http://isonomia.itam.mx/index.php/revista-cientifica/article/view/425



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