Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1147387
 


 



Legitimate Authority Without Political Obligation


William A. Edmundson


Georgia State University College of Law

1998

Law and Philosophy, Vol. 17, pp. 43-60, 1998

Abstract:     
It is commonly supposed that citizens of a reasonably just state have a prima facie duty to obey its laws. In recent years, however, a number of influential political philosophers have concluded that there is no such duty. But how can the state be a legitimate authority if there is no general duty to obey its laws? This article is an attempt to explain how we can make sense of the idea of legitimate political authority without positing the existence of a general duty to obey the law. The explanation makes use of a distinction between laws of general application, on one hand, and on the other the particularized, directed efforts by state officials to channel and resolve disputes (including those arising from violations of the law). A state's legitimate authority entails a general duty to cooperate in the latter type of effort, rather than upon a dubious general duty to obey the law.

Keywords: legitimacy, authority, duty to obey

JEL Classification: K00

Accepted Paper Series


Not Available For Download

Date posted: June 18, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Edmundson, William A., Legitimate Authority Without Political Obligation (1998). Law and Philosophy, Vol. 17, pp. 43-60, 1998. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1147387

Contact Information

William A. Edmundson (Contact Author)
Georgia State University College of Law ( email )
P.O. Box 4037
Urban Life Building, Room 402 140 Decatur Street
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
United States
404-413-9167 (Phone)
404-413-9225 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://law.gsu.edu/wedmundson/
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