Justice, Legitimacy, and (Normative) Authority for Political Realists

Abstract
One of the main challenges faced by realists in political philosophy is that of offering an account of authority that is genuinely normative and yet does not consist of a moralistic application of general, abstract ethical principles to the practice of politics. Political moralists typically start by devising a conception of justice based on their pre-political moral commitments; authority would then be legitimate only if political power is exercised in accordance with justice. As an alternative to that dominant approach I put forward the idea that upturning the relationship between justice and legitimacy affords a normative notion of authority that does not depend on a pre-political account of morality, and thus avoids some serious problems faced by mainstream theories of justice. I then argue that the appropriate purpose of justice is simply to specify the implementation of an independently grounded conception of legitimacy, which in turn rests on a context- and practice-sensitive understanding of the purpose of political power.
Keywords justice  legitimacy  political realism  political moralism  political idealism  authority
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References found in this work BETA
G. A. Cohen (2003). Facts and Principles. Philosophy and Public Affairs 31 (3):211–245.
William A. Galston (2010). Realism in Political Theory. European Journal of Political Theory 9 (4):385-411.

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