Daniel Viehoff
New York University
How can one person’s having political power over another be justified? This essay explores the idea that such justifications must be in an important sense derivative, and that this ‘Derivative Justification Constraint’ bars certain justifications widely endorsed in political and philosophical debates. After critically discussing the most prominent extant articulations of the Constraint (associated with a view often called ‘political instrumentalism’), the essay offers a novel account of what precisely the Constraint bars (in short: justification by appeal to non-derivative goods that include among their elements one person’s ruling over another), what motivates it (in a nutshell: a deeply non-instrumental concern for each person’s moral independence), and what it entails for how we may justify democratic political arrangements in particular.
Keywords authority  legitimacy  power  instrumentalism  political justification
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/arisoc/aox015
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,819
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Justice for Hedgehogs.Ronald Dworkin - 2011 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Philosophy 63 (243):119-122.
The morality of freedom.J. Raz - 1988 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (1):108-109.

View all 22 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Democracia Republicana y Autoridad Política Fiduciaria.Adrián Herranz - 2020 - Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 81:177-193.
On Political Instrumentalism and the Justification of Democracy: Reply to Viehoff.Joel K. Q. Chow - 2018 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 118 (3):387-397.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Instrumentalism Revisited.Elliott Sober - 2001 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 2001 (91):3 - 39.
Ends.Mark Lebar - 2004 - Social Theory and Practice 30 (4):507-533.
Toward a More Realistic Constructivism.Khosrow Bagheri Noaparast - 1995 - In G. J. Neimeyer & R. A. Neimeyer (eds.), Advances in personal construct theory. JAI Press. pp. 37-59.
Modal Anti-Realism: Instrumentalism Vs. Fictionalism.Piotr Warzoszczak - 2011 - Studia Philosophica Wratislaviensia 6 (1):31-49.
Ethical Instrumentalism.J. S. Biehl - 2005 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (4):353-369.
Instrumentalism About Practical Reason: Not by Default.Thomas Schmidt - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (1):17-27.
The Paradox of Instrumentalism.David Papineau - 1986 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:269-276.
A Critical Examination of Instrumentalism in John Dewey's Pragmatism.Hippolytus M. Eze - 1991 - Pontificia Universitas Urbaniana, Facultas Philosophiae.
Deflationism and Instrumentalism.Martin Fischer - 2015 - In Kentaro Fujimoto, José Martínez Fernández, Henri Galinon & Theodora Achourioti (eds.), Unifying the Philosophy of Truth. Springer Verlag.


Added to PP index

Total views
74 ( #149,173 of 2,463,235 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
12 ( #60,195 of 2,463,235 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes