Legitimacy, Authority and Political Obligation

Partly due to the influence of philosophical anarchism, the debate on political authority and the duty to obey the law has seemed to be at a dead end for a long time. In recent years however, new interest has arisen over some of the classic questions shaping this debate. This new interest has manifested itself in two ways: on the one hand, novel theories have been advanced in defence of the views that political institutions have a right to rule and that a duty to obey the law can be justified (Wellman, Estlund). On the other hand, more and more attention has been paid to the importance of the notions of legitimacy and authority for other classic problems in moral and political philosophy, including democracy (Buchanan, Christiano), liberalism (Gaus, Quong), law and practical reasoning (Raz, Shapiro)

This workshop aims to explore both these trends and specific questions such as:

– democracy and the right to vote

– civil disobedience and conscientious objection

– the right to punish

– self-determination and secession

– immigration and border control

– issues in practical reasoning and normativity

– the legitimacy of international institutions


Massimo Renzo and Chris Bennet


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