Dugan January "My people and I have come to an agreement which satisfies us both. They are to say what they please, and I am to do what I please. The term is used in many different ways, to refer to very different situations. Thus a standard definition can prove elusive.
The main function of political legitimacy, on this interpretation, is to explain the difference between merely effective or de facto authority and legitimate authority.
John Locke put forward such an interpretation of legitimacy. The solution to this problem is a social contract that transfers political authority to a civil state that can realize and secure the natural law. According to Locke, and contrary to his predecessor Thomas Hobbes, the social contract thus does not create authority.
Political authority is embodied in individuals and pre-exists in the state of nature. The social contract transfers the authority they each enjoy in the state of nature to a particular political body. While political authority thus pre-exists in the state of nature, legitimacy is a concept that is specific to the civil state.
Because the criterion of legitimacy that Locke proposes is historical, however, what counts as legitimate authority remains connected to the state of nature. The legitimacy of political authority in the civil state depends, according to Locke, on whether the transfer of authority has happened in the right way.
Locke understands the consent criterion to apply not just to the original institutionalization of Legitmacy of law exercises essay political authority—what Rawls It also applies to the ongoing evaluation of the performance of a political regime—Rawls Although Locke emphasises consent, consent is not, however, sufficient for legitimate authority because an authority that suspends the natural law is necessarily illegitimate e.
On some interpretations of Locke e. Pitkinconsent is not even necessary for legitimate political authority; it is only a marker of illegitimacy.
Whether an actual political regime respects the constraints of the natural law is thus at least one factor that determines its legitimacy.
This criterion of legitimacy is negative: When a political authority fails to secure consent or oversteps the boundaries of the natural law, it ceases to be legitimate and, therefore, there is no longer an obligation to obey its commands. For Locke—unlike for Hobbes—political authority can thus not be absolute.
John Simmons uses them to argue that we should distinguish between the moral justification of states in general and the political legitimacy of actual states. I will come back to this point in section 3.
Joseph Raz links legitimacy to the justification of political authority. According to Raz, political authority is just a special case of the more general concept of authority, He defines authority in relation to a claim—of a person or an agency—to generate what he calls pre-emptive reasons.
Such reasons replace other reasons for action that people might have. For example, if a teacher asks her students to do some homework, she expects her say-so to give the students reason to do the homework. Authority is effective, on this view, if it gets people to act on the reasons it generates.
Legitimate authority satisfies what Raz calls the pre-emption thesis: There are limits to what even a legitimate authority can rightfully order others to do, which is why it does not necessarily replace all relevant reasons.
When is effective or de facto authority legitimate? In other words, what determines whether the pre-emption thesis is satisfied? In full, the normal justification thesis says: The normal justification thesis explains why those governed by a legitimate authority ought to treat its directives as binding.
It thus follows as a corollary of the normal justification thesis that such an authority generates a duty to be obeyed. Note that even though legitimate authority is defined as a special case of effective authority, only the former is appropriately described as a serving its subjects.
Illegitimate—but effective—authority does not serve those it aims to govern, although it may purport to do so. William Edmundson formulates this way of linking authority and legitimacy via a condition he calls the warranty thesis: The idea expressed by the warranty thesis is that legitimacy morally justifies an independently existing authority such that the claims of the authority become moral obligations.
As Leslie Green puts it: According to a second important interpretation, by contrast, the main function of legitimacy is precisely to justify coercive power. For an excellent discussion of the two interpretations of legitimacy and a defense of the coercion-based interpretation, see Ripstein ; see also Hampton On coercion-based interpretations, the main problem that a conception of legitimacy aims to solve is how to distinguish the rightful use of political power from mere coercion.
One way to capture the thought is that, on these views, legitimacy relates to the way in which the rightful use of political power creates or constitutes political authority.
· Law is a critical aspect of this picture, and adherence or non-adherence to the law becomes an indicator of legitimacy.
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· Whoever exercises power and domination acts “based on a law” or “in the name of the law.” their legitimacy on the “rule of law” must occasionally have recourse to extralegal mea- Agamben himself returned to the question of the force of law in “Force-of-Law,” the second essay in State of exception [Se 32–40].
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