Joseph Raz Wins $1.3 Million Tang Prize

Professor Raz, a world-renowned legal philosopher, was awarded the prize for his scholarship in rule of law.

New York, July 9, 2018—Columbia Law School Professor Joseph Raz was awarded the 2018 Tang Prize in Rule of Law. It comes with a $1.3 million prize.

The Tang Prize is awarded biennially to individuals who have made significant contributions in biopharmaceutical science, sustainable development, sinology, and the rule of law. The Tang Prize selection committee recognized Raz for “his path-breaking thoughts on fundamental aspects of legal studies, on which he offers a magisterial framework for deeper thinking, debates and dialogue.”

Raz is a world-renowned legal philosopher whose influential scholarship has for decades offered new insights into the nature of law and legal reasoning, as well as the relationship between law, morality, and freedom. He joined the Columbia Law faculty in 2002.

“Joseph Raz is one of the most brilliant and influential philosophers of our time,” said Gillian Lester, Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law. “His original ideas about norms, authority, and the theory of legal positivism have won him global respect among his contemporaries in academia and this honor reflects his deeply distinguished standing in the field.”

The two previous winners in the rule of law category were international human rights activist and lawyer Albert Louise (“Albie”) Sachs, former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa (2014) and Louise Arbour (2016), former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights who currently serves as U.N. Special Representative for International Migration.

I am very grateful for this recognition, and am particularly proud to join the company of such distinguished laureates,” said Raz, the Thomas M. Macioce Professor of Law.  “I am glad that the Tang Foundation chose to underline the importance of the rule of law in our turbulent world.”  

A prolific writer, Raz is the author of 10 books, including: From Normativity to Responsibility (Oxford University Press, 2011); Between Authority and Interpretation (Oxford University Press, 2009); and The Authority of Law: Essays on Law and Morality (Oxford University Press, 1979).

He has delivered countless lectures worldwide, including the Kellogg Lecture In Jurisprudence at the Library of Congress in 2011; the Hart Memorial Lecture, Oxford University, 2009; the Tanner Lectures, Berkeley 2001; and the Storrs Lectures, Yale 2003. Raz was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1987 and has been an honorary foreign member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences since 1992.

He served as a fellow and tutor in law at Balliol College, Oxford from 1972 to 1985, and from 1985 to 2006 served as professor of philosophy of law at Oxford University.  Since 2011 he has been a part-time research professor at King’s College, London. His numerous visiting professorships include Rockefeller University, the Australian National University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Toronto, Yale Law School, and the University of Southern California.

Raz earned a Magister Juris degree from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem in 1963, followed by a Doctor of Philosophy (D.Phil.) from Oxford University in 1967.

The Tang Prize ceremony will take place in Taipei, Taiwan, in September 2018, as part of a weeklong series of events that includes a laureate lecture and a question-and-answer forum with students.

The Tang Prize was established in 2012 by philanthropist Samuel Yin, Ph.D., chairman of Ruentex Group.