Citations (1)



Violence and the Rule of Law

Jeffrie G. Murphy

Arizona State University College of Law


Ethics, Vol. 80, p. 319, 1970

Robert Paul Wolff defends his "philosophical anarchism" by arguing that the concept of legitimate political authority is incoherent. This belief entails the understanding that there is no special political problem of justifying violence. While it is commonly argued that individual violence is prima facie immoral in two ways: (1) if it harms someone, and (2) if it violates the prima facie obligation to obey the law, Wolff contends that (2) is incoherent and thus irrelevant. This article argues that while Wolff is correct to argue that we should be suspicious of those who are always ranting and raving about violence and suspect their motives, this is a question of political ideology and commitment and not a question of philosophical analysis. This article shows how Wolff's attempted analysis of violence is both superficial and wrong.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 3

Keywords: Robert Paul Wolff, Violence, Philosophy of Law

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Date posted: June 24, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Murphy, Jeffrie G., Violence and the Rule of Law (1970). Ethics, Vol. 80, p. 319, 1970. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1424711

Contact Information

Jeffrie G. Murphy (Contact Author)
Arizona State University College of Law ( email )
Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States
(480) 965-5856 (Phone)
(480) 965-2427 (Fax)
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