Why does it matter whether law is autonomous? That depends on the questioner's perspective. Consider citizens. Legal norms provide them with distinctive reasons for behaving in certain ways and not others, and those reasons may be different from the reasons provided by norms of morality, religion, etiquette, and so on. Therefore, it is important for citizens to be able clearly to distinguish legal norms from other types of norms. Conversely, legal norms confer on authorities responsible for application and enforcement of law distinctive powers to act in certain ways; and so it is important for them to be able clearly to identify relevant legal norms to know when those powers exist.


The same is true of lawmaking authorities, but for them, law's autonomy (or distinctiveness) from ...

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