Journal of Value Inquiry 38 (4):511-529 (2004)

Cindy Holder
University of Victoria
A popular strategy for answering the question of why and how laws bind is to use the concept of political justification: to argue that laws bind when they can be justified in the political domain. Being defensible in the political domain is supposed to make laws emotionally compelling in virtue of their being justified for each member of the community, and intellectually compelling in virtue of their having emerged from a process that is subject to constraints of rationality such as consistency and coherence. However, being politically justifiable does not and cannot explain why it is reasonable to expect individuals to conform because it places too much emphasis on deference to the judgments of public actors. In this paper I use a distinction between general availability and general acceptability accounts of publicity to explain why the answer to what makes laws binding lies in developing an account of good reasons, not an account of why political reasons should take priority.
Keywords public reason  public justification  legal normativity  philosophy of law  political justification
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DOI 10.1007/s10790-005-6860-z
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Facing Diversity: The Case of Epistemic Abstinence.Joseph Raz - 1990 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 19 (1):3-46.
Against Marriage and Motherhood.Claudia Card - 1996 - Hypatia 11 (3):1 - 23.

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