Joseph Raz argues that if certain conduct is demanded of me by those with legal authority, then, as a consequence of that demand, I have a second-order, preemptive reason to disregard all first-order reasons that bear on the justifiability of that conduct except for the first-order reason that the conduct is legally demanded. What he means is that before the legal authorities act, I have only ordinary (first-order) reasons for and against the conduct in question. After they act, I have an additional first-order reason for the conduct, namely, that they demand it. But as an additional consequence of their demand, I now have a reason to exclude from the balance of first-order reasons all reasons that were the basis of the authorities' demand. That new reason is a secondorder reason, a reason superior to first-order reasons. In other words, Raz analyzes legal authority in terms of the capacity to create what he calls "exclusionary reasons."l

Although most legal philosophers believe that Raz is on to something here, they disagree among themselves and with Raz about just what Raz has shown. Some undoubtedly will reject the possibility of exclusionary reasons (as Raz describes them) but may accept Raz's analysis of legal authority in terms of such reasons. They may therefore believe that Raz has demonstrated the impossibility of legal authority.2