Professor Joseph Raz Delivers Kellogg Lecture on Jurisprudence

Professor Joseph Raz Delivers Kellogg Lecture on Jurisprudence

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New York, Oct. 24, 2011—Joseph Raz, the Thomas M. Macioce Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, delivered a speech titled “Sovereignty & Legitimacy: On the Changing Face of Law, Questions, and Speculations” at the Law Library of Congress on Oct. 5. The talk attracted more than 100 people, including members of Congress, legal scholars, lawyers, and the general public.

Widely considered one of the world’s leading scholars on legal and political philosophy, Raz is only the second academic to deliver the Frederic R. and Molly S. Kellogg Biennial Lecture in Jurisprudence, which aims to provide a forum for the world’s most distinguished contributors to international jurisprudence.
Raz spoke about the possible benefits and dangers of the growing legalization of international relations, and also about human rights practices and how difficult it is to resolve human rights issues as long as the role of international institutions remains in flux.

“The international system will and should remain fragmented and partial,” Raz said. “It should not aim to supersede local institutions, but to coordinate and harmonize their operations. We should strive to combine reduced sovereignty with robust legitimacy.”

Ruth Levush, a senior foreign law specialist with the Global Legal Research Center at the Law Library of Congress, called Raz’s lecture “an intellectually stimulating experience” and said in a blog post that Raz is “one of the most brilliant scholars of our time.” 

After nearly four decades of voluminous writings and lectures, Raz has emerged as the preeminent authority on the moral and philosophical underpinnings of contemporary legal structures. He has written nine books, including “The Morality of Freedom,” which was awarded the W. J. M. Mackenzie Book Prize and the David and Elaine Spitz Prize. A member of the Law School faculty since 2002, he currently teaches a seminar on problems in legal philosophy and participates in the Law School’s Center on Law and Philosophy.

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