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N. P. Adams
University of Virginia
  1. In Defense of Exclusionary Reasons.N. P. Adams - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-19.
    Exclusionary defeat is Joseph Raz’s proposal for understanding the more complex, layered structure of practical reasoning. Exclusionary reasons are widely appealed to in legal theory and consistently arise in many other areas of philosophy. They have also been subject to a variety of challenges. I propose a new account of exclusionary reasons based on their justificatory role, rejecting Raz’s motivational account and especially contrasting exclusion with undercutting defeat. I explain the appeal and coherence of exclusionary reasons by appeal to commonsense (...)
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  2. Institutional Legitimacy.N. P. Adams - 2018 - Journal of Political Philosophy:84-102.
    Political legitimacy is best understood as one type of a broader notion, which I call institutional legitimacy. An institution is legitimate in my sense when it has the right to function. The right to function correlates to a duty of non-interference. Understanding legitimacy in this way favorably contrasts with legitimacy understood in the traditional way, as the right to rule correlating to a duty of obedience. It helps unify our discourses of legitimacy across a wider range of practices, especially including (...)
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  3. Legitimacy and Institutional Purpose.N. P. Adams - 2020 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 23 (3):292-310.
    Institutions undertake a huge variety of constitutive purposes. One of the roles of legitimacy is to protect and promote an institution’s pursuit of its purpose; state legitimacy is generally understood as the right to rule, for example. When considering legitimacy beyond the state, we have to take account of how differences in purposes change legitimacy. I focus in particular on how differences in purpose matter for the stringency of the standards that an institution must meet in order to be legitimate. (...)
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  4. In Defense of Content-Independence.N. P. Adams - 2017 - Legal Theory 23 (3):143-167.
    Discussions of political obligation and political authority have long focused on the idea that the commands of genuine authorities constitute content-independent reasons. Despite its centrality in these debates, the notion of content-independence is unclear and controversial, with some claiming that it is incoherent, useless, or increasingly irrelevant. I clarify content-independence by focusing on how reasons can depend on features of their source or container. I then solve the long-standing puzzle of whether the fact that laws can constitute content-independent reasons is (...)
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  5. The Concept of Legitimacy.N. P. Adams - manuscript
  6. Grounding Procedural Rights.N. P. Adams - 2019 - Legal Theory (1):3-25.
    Contrary to the widely accepted consensus, Christopher Heath Wellman argues that there are no pre-institutional judicial procedural rights. Thus commonly affirmed rights like the right to a fair trial cannot be assumed in the literature on punishment and legal philosophy as they usually are. Wellman canvasses and rejects a variety of grounds proposed for such rights. I answer his skepticism by proposing two novel grounds for procedural rights. First, a general right against unreasonable risk of punishment grounds rights to an (...)
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  7.  37
    Authority, Illocutionary Accommodation, and Social Accommodation.N. P. Adams - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-14.
    By appeal to the phenomenon of presupposition accommodation, Rae Langton and others have proposed that speakers can gain genuine authority over their audiences when they implicitly claim such authority and the audience accommodates them. I address this argument in two ways. First, I explain where and why we should expect authority within particular conventional practices to be able to be gained by accommodation, considering the balance of values and norms that authority claims implicate. Second, I argue that audiences will often (...)
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  8.  58
    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:281-291.
    The essays collected in this special issue explore what legitimacy means for actors and institutions that do not function like traditional states but nevertheless wield significant power in the global realm. They are connected by the idea that the specific purposes of non-state actors and the contexts in which they operate shape what it means for them to be legitimate and so shape the standards of justification that they have to meet. In this introduction, we develop this guiding methodology further (...)
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