Jane Austen on Persuasion and Authority

43 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2007

See all articles by Linda Ross Meyer

Linda Ross Meyer

Quinnipiac University School of Law

Date Written: January 17, 2007


Taking the novels of Jane Austen as an exploration of Joseph Raz's problem of authority in law, this paper explores whether a positivist account of authority maps onto Austen's account of human experience. While both Austen and Raz agree that the source of authority cannot itself be an exclusionary reason, Austen's novels suggest that social role and emotional connection play a bigger role in evaluating authority than Raz's account would suggest. Most notably, Austen's characterization of her heroine Fanny Price suggests that a non-positivist stance toward authority may generate more moral criticism of law than a positivist approach.

Keywords: Jane Austen, Joseph Raz, authority, persuasion, positivism, emotion, exclusionary reason, moral judgment, moral education

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Meyer, Linda R., Jane Austen on Persuasion and Authority (January 17, 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=958280 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.958280

Linda R. Meyer (Contact Author)

Quinnipiac University School of Law ( email )

275 Mt. Carmel Ave.
Hamden, CT 06518
United States
203-287-3281 (Phone)
203-287-3209 (Fax)

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