Political legitimacy, justice and consent

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 15 (2):129-148 (2012)
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What is it for a state, constitution or set of governmental institutions to have political legitimacy? This paper raises some doubts about two broadly liberal answers to this question, which can be labelled ?Kantian? and ?libertarian?. The argument focuses in particular on the relationship between legitimacy and principles of justice and on the place of consent. By contrast with these views, I suggest that, without endorsing the kind of voluntarist theory, according to which political legitimacy is simply created by individual consent, an adequate understanding of political legitimacy should take much more account than most philosophical theories tend to do of the attitudes and beliefs of citizens and the social and political context in which they have saliency. This also involves acknowledging the limits of theory in determining criteria of political legitimacy.



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Citations of this work

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References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
Equality and Partiality.Thomas Nagel - 1991 - New York, US: OUP Usa. Edited by Louis P. Pojman & Robert Westmoreland.
Rawls.Samuel Richard Freeman - 2007 - New York: Routledge.

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