Canadian Journal of Philosophy 2 (4):533 - 539 (1973)

Tom Beauchamp
Georgetown University
In defense of anarchism Robert Paul Wolff contends that the moral autonomy of individuals cannot be made compatible with legitimate political authority. A state is legitimate, he maintains, if authorities in the state have a right to command where subjects correlatively have an obligation to obey. However, he also holds both that all autonomous individuals have a primary obligation to refuse to be ruled by all authorities and that all men are normally obliged to remain autonomous. It allegedly follows that anarchism is the only political theory consistent with autonomy. We propose to show that his arguments concerning legitimacy contain a crucial inconsistency and that his conclusions concerning the incompatibility of authority and autonomy fail.
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DOI 10.1080/00455091.1973.10716063
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