Identity and Social Bonds

16 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2018 Last revised: 4 Jan 2019

See all articles by Joseph Raz

Joseph Raz

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law; Columbia University - Law School; King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law

Date Written: October 22, 2018


I first argue that there is no problem about how to justify partialities (though there is a difficulty in justifying impartialities). Then I consider the role of consent in justifying rights and duties, using voluntary associations as a case in which consent has an important but limited role in doing so, a role determined and circumscribed by evaluative considerations. The values explain why consent can bind and bind one to act as one does not wish to do and even as one judges to be ill advised. That opens the way to an explanation of how value considerations relate to non-voluntary membership in socially constituted groups, generating rights and duties that to a considerable extent are independent of the individual’s aims and preferences.

Keywords: identity, partiality, impartiality, voluntary-association, consent, non-consensual duties, social groups

Suggested Citation

Raz, Joseph, Identity and Social Bonds (October 22, 2018). Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 14-611, King's College London Law School Research Paper No. 19-4, Available at SSRN: or

Joseph Raz (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

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Columbia University - Law School ( email )

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King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )

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London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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