Taking rulers' interests seriously: The case for realist theories of legitimacy

European Journal of Political Theory 23 (2):159-181 (2024)
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In this article I defend a new argument against moralist theories of legitimacy and in favour of realist theories. Moralist theories, I argue, are vulnerable to ideological and wishful thinking because they do not connect the demands of legitimacy with the interests of rulers. Realist theories, however, generally do manage to make this connection. This is because satisfying the usual realist criteria for legitimacy – the creation of a stable political order that transcends brute coercion – is usually necessary for rulers to preserve their rule.



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Ben Cross
Wuhan University'

Citations of this work

Realist legitimacy: What kind of internalism?Ben Cross - forthcoming - Philosophy and Social Criticism.
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References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Realism in Normative Political Theory.Enzo Rossi & Matt Sleat - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (10):689-701.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Philosophy and Real Politics.Raymond Geuss - 2008 - Princeton University Press.

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