The Monist 66 (4):517-528 (1983)

The legitimacy of political authority may be philosophically defended in a number of ways. It may be argued that the lineage, biological or otherwise, of a society's rulers confers upon them an entitlement to be obeyed. Or it may be contended that the body of law to which a polity's citizens are subject is just and, therefore, whatever group of governmental officials executes it does so legitimately. Alternatively, it may be maintained that the consensual genesis of a society's political institutions can serve as its warrant. And finally, no one of the above justifications may provide, by itself, a sufficient ground for the exercise of political authority. Rather, some combination of them may be required to affirm the legitimacy of governmental institutions.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind  Philosophy of Science
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ISBN(s) 0026-9662
DOI 10.5840/monist198366431
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