I couldn't resist sharing this paper as an excellent example of contemporary political philosophy. The backdrop is the proposition that, if a government has legitimate authority, its rulings carry a moral force on the population. We have a responsibility to obey the law in such circumstances. But from where would such a legitimate authority be derived? Not simply though power, not simply through the popular vote, not simply because people signed a contract saying they would obey the law. And not - crucially - through and prior obligation to obey the law. Stephen R. Perry argues that legitimate authority depends on the value of the authority: "one person holds a power over another if there is sufficient value in the former possessing the capacity intentionally to impose an obligation on the latter."
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