In the first Christian generation, authority in the church lay either in the kinsmen of Jesus or in those whom he had commissioned as Apostles and missionaries.
Introduction Legitimate political authority, it is generally agreed, involves a right to rule.
A political regime has a right to rule only if, among other things, it has a fairly extensive power to change its subjects normative situation by, for example, imposing obligations or conferring rights on them. No doubt a right to rule involves much more than this. Perhaps it involves not just a power to impose obligations but also a right to compel compliance with those obligations by means of force or the threat of force.
Theories of legitimate political authority tend to fall into one or the other of two categories: For the most part, the difference between these two types of theory concerns the justificatory relationship between the states normative power and its right which is presumably a claim-right to use coercion.
Theories of the first kind typically look for a justification of the states power to change its subjects normative situation that is independent of the right to use coercion, and then attempt to justify the right to coerce by reference to the normative power.
Theories of the second type reverse this order of justification: They first offer a justification of the states right legitimately to use force under certain circumstances, and then offer a justification of the states general powers to change its subjects normative situation that makes essential reference to this prior right.
For a distinguished version of this second type of theory, see Arthur Ripstein, Authority and Coercion, Philosophy and Public Affairs, 32 The theories of political authority that I discuss in this article are all of the first type, but since theories of the second type do not typically deny that states have the normative power to change their subjects normative situation, I believe that the articles most important conclusion that it is implausible to think that such a normative power can be justified by reference to an aggregation of the states normative relations to its citizens considered one by one generally applies to this category of theory as well.
The key to Ripsteins Kantian theory, for example, is the idea that rights [of focus on the point that legitimate political authority requires possession of extensive normative powers. Joseph Raz calls political regimes which have effective control over a population and which also claim legitimate authority for themselves, meaning they claim extensive powers to change the normative situation of their subjects, de facto authorities.
Raz argues, in my view rightly, that a political regime can only have law and a legal system if it is a de facto authority in this sense. For present purposes it will be convenient to focus on the case of de facto authorities, which we can think of loosely as the governments of states with legal systems.
Because such governments can, in the exercise of the extensive authority that they claim for themselves,3 affect their subjects lives in very significant ways and often against their will, the authority they claim to possess is moral in nature.
The idea of reciprocal limits on the freedom of all would seem to count, in the admittedly loose sense of the term that I am employing in this article, as part of a non-aggregative justification of political authority.
It is perhaps worth mentioning that there are some theories of the second type which claim to justify a Hohfeldian liberty or justification-right on the part of states to use coercion which does involve a corresponding obligation on the part of citizens to obey.
The term justification-right is Ladensons. Clarendon Press, Raz argues that because legal systems, unlike other normative systems such as commercial companies and sports organizations, acknowledge no limitations the spheres of behavior which they have the power to regulate, their claim of authority is comprehensive.
Elsewhere he makes a similar point by observing that even in states in which the power of the legislature to legislate is constitutionally limited, the law nonetheless claims unlimited authority for itself because the law provides ways of changing the law and of adopting any law whatsoever.
Raz, The Morality of Freedom, Let me refer to the product of the exercise of a claimed power to impose obligations as a directive.
If a directive was issued by an organ of a government which not only claims but also possesses legitimate authority, then those persons who fall within the scope of the directive have an obligation to obey it. Because legitimate authority is moral authority, this obligation is a moral obligation.
In recent years a number of prominent political philosophers who accept the basic thesis that legitimate political authority involves a right to rule, in the sense of that notion that was described in the preceding paragraph, have also offered a skeptical answer to the question of whether or not there is a general obligation to obey the law.
The theorists I primarily have in mind here are Raz and A. Each concludes that, because there is a close analytic connection between the authority of a legitimate state to issue directives and the obligation of the subjects of such a state to obey its directives, the fact that there is no general obligation to obey all the lawsLeslie Green has also argued for the skeptical conclusion that there is no general obligation to obey the law, and he, like Raz and Simmons, also draws conclusions from this fact about the nature of legitimate political authority.
Greens approach to these matters is, however, different in significant respects from theirs. I will discuss Greens views in section IV below. Relatedly, each of these theorists also characterizes the nature of legitimate political authority in ways that can, in a fairly straightforward sense, be characterized as individualistic or aggregative.
For example, Raz states that his particular analysis of authority, which he calls the service conception, concentrate[s] exclusively on a one-to-one relation between an authority and a single person subject to it, adding that [i]t is an advantage of [this] analysis that it is capable of accounting for authority over a group on the basis of authority relations between individuals.
John Simmons, Justification and Legitimacy Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Thus although Simmons theory of authority is quite different from Razs Raz, as we shall see, at no point relies on a notion of consent both theories can nonetheless be said to be individualistic in the sense that any legitimacy that a given state possesses qua state depends on an aggregation of whatever distinct authority relations happen to hold between the state and each of its subjects considered one by one.
Since Simmons does not think that any state, no matter how just, has received the consent of all of its subjects, he agrees with Raz that no state is every fully legitimate or, as he also puts it, legitimate simpliciter.
But because the state is legitimate for those who have consented to it, he similarly agrees with Raz that the legitimacy of the state qua state can be a matter of degree.
By focusing their respective discussions on the justification of a general duty to obey the law, Simmons and Raz are both led, in different but related ways, to a distorted understanding of the nature of political legitimacy.
Any acceptable theory of legitimate political authority, I will argue, must focus directly on the justification of the power to impose obligations or, what comes to the same thing, on the justification of a general liability on the part of citizens to be subjected to obligations.
I will also argue that, by focusing on the justification of duties rather than the direct justification of powers, Simmons and Raz are both led to the mistaken conclusion that legitimate authority is an aggregative notion which is based on the particularized and possibly varying normative relations that exist between the state and each individual citizen considered one by one.
Relatedly, I will argue that both are mistaken to suggest that legitimate political authority is generally a matter of degree, or at least that it is a matter of degree in the sense they have in mind. Finally, although I will not advance a particular substantive theory of legitimate authority, I will argue that any plausible substantive theory mustSee Raz, The Morality of Freedom, The obligation to obey a person which is commonly regarded as entailed by the assertion that he has legitimate authority is nothing but the imputation to him of a power to bind.
For the obligation to obey is an obligation to obey if and when the authority commands, and this is the same as a power or capacity in the authority to issue valid or binding directives.what is the anarchist view on political authority and political obligation.
no correlation between the political authority of states and the political obligation of peoples and the voluntary nature of the political community all make for irreconcilable differences between liberalism and anarchism.
To have a political obligation is to have a moral duty to obey the laws of one's country or state. On that point there is almost complete agreement among political philosophers. The nature of authority and what makes the exercise of authority legitimate is a central focus for political philosophers, who examine questions regarding when a state may legitimately compel its citizens to act and, conversely, when citizens may legitimately refuse to obey state mandates.
The nature of authority and what makes the exercise of authority legitimate is a central focus for political philosophers, who examine questions regarding when a state may legitimately compel its citizens to act and, conversely, when citizens may legitimately refuse to obey state mandates.
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POLITICS AND RELIGION: POLITICS AND ANCIENT MEDITERRANEAN RELIGIONS A discussion of religion and politics in the ancient Mediterranean faces two large obstacles: the geographical and cultural diversity of the traditions encompassed by this rubric and the very difficulty of defining the terms religion and politics in each culture.
None of the societies of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.