By Rex Martin
The justification of political authority is a long-standing factor of political philosophy, one that many times defies resolution. This ebook offers an unique justification through constructing a framework for facing this challenge. The version that emerges is one within which sure different types of political rights are emphasised. Martin discusses the consequences of one of these approach for democratic associations, political allegiance, punishment, and eventually for the character of political authority.
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Extra info for A System of Rights
This is the same as asking whether political authority can be morally justified. The externalist program for justifying political authority is, as revised, one step removed from where, in its earlier version, it was normally thought to operate. Rather than deal with the question of justifying on moral grounds the elements of authority, seriatim and head on (as in the classical model), it is peculiarly suited to raise the question whether an authority that is politically justified can be morally justified.
How, then, does the person whose action has been challenged make good a rights claim? Certainly that person could do so, for example, by drawing forth an acknowledgment that the action was indeed his or her practice, and the practice of others, if that was the case. More significantly, the claimant could elicit confirmation that this practice had been an accepted one, not merely by those who engaged in it but also by others whose judgment seemed relevant. The practice in question (going to the pond on this particular path) was accredited, then, by an appropriate social ratification—in the case at hand, it might be, by an unreflective and unspoken social acceptance.
One day a fence is put across one of the paths and the people are told that the path is closed. One of them responds that this cannot be. They are going to the pond to fish and it is their right to do so and they have taken this path and it is their right to do so; the fence maker should remove the fence or, at the very least, the people should be able to climb over it and continue to the pond. I presume the scenario is recognizable: the talk of rights seems natural and appropriate. There is, of course, much about the setting that we do not know and that would require filling in.
A System of Rights by Rex Martin