Law and Philosophy 17 (1):43 - 60 (1998)

Authors
William A. Edmundson
Georgia State University
Abstract
It is commonly supposed that citizens of a reasonably just state have a prima facie duty to obey its laws. In recent years, however, a number of influential political philosophers have concluded that there is no such duty. But how can the state be a legitimate authority if there is no general duty to obey its laws? This article is an attempt to explain how we can make sense of the idea of legitimate political authority without positing the existence of a general duty to obey the law. The explanation makes use of a distinction between laws of general application, on one hand, and on the other the particularized, directed efforts by state officials to channel and resolve disputes (including those arising from violations of the law). A state's legitimate authority entails a general duty to cooperate in the latter type of effort, rather than upon a dubious general duty to obey the law.
Keywords Law   Logic   Philosophy of Law   Law Theory/Law Philosophy   Political Science   Social Issues
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DOI 10.2307/3504969
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Institutional Legitimacy.N. P. Adams - 2018 - Journal of Political Philosophy:84-102.
Legitimacy Beyond the State: Institutional Purposes and Contextual Constraints.N. P. Adams, Antoinette Scherz & Cord Schmelzle - 2020 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 23 (3):281-291.
Content-Independence and Natural-Duty Theories of Political Obligation.Jiafeng Zhu - 2018 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 44 (1):61-80.
Is the Concept of Obligation Moralized?Kenneth Himma - 2018 - Law and Philosophy 37 (2):203-227.

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