CFP: Special Issue on "Arthur Applbaum’s 'Legitimacy: The Right to Rule in a Wanton World' and Legitimacy beyond the State"

Submission deadline: September 1, 2022

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Call for Papers
Special Issue of Moral Philosophy and Politics on Arthur Applbaum’s Legitimacy: The Right to Rule in a Wanton World and Legitimacy beyond the State

Guest Editors:
Matthias Brinkmann (PluriCourts, University of Oslo)
Anthony Taylor (Nuffield College, University of Oxford)

Philosophical debates about political legitimacy have significantly expanded over the last decade. One important contribution is Arthur Applbaum’s recent book Legitimacy: The Right to Rule in a Wanton World. On his account, power can only be exercised permissibly when we are governed by a free group agent. In developing this view, Applbaum also touches on many other important philosophical issues, like the concept of legitimacy, the conditions for legitimate foreign intervention, and the role of constitutional constraints and democratic processes in justifying power. The book also provides a novel critique of “wanton” government, which Applbaum diagnoses as a government which fails to constitute a coherent agent who is responsive to the reasons which apply to them.

Moral Philosophy and Politics invites contributions that engage with ideas and arguments from Applbaum’s book. Beyond his book, we are also interested in attempts to expand theorising about legitimacy beyond the state to global issues and institutions. We are especially interested in accounts of the legitimacy of international institutions, like the UN, WTO or ICJ, and how the right to rule should be assigned in a world which faces global existential challenges like climate change. Contributions which tackle these wider issues are encouraged, but not required, to engage with Applbaum’s work.

There is a wide range of themes in Applbaum’s book. Some of the contributions that papers could focus on are the following:

  • Applbaum’s power-liability account of the concept of legitimacy
  • The group agency account of legitimacy
  • Freedom and the foundations of a theory of legitimacy
  • Kantian and Republican accounts of legitimacy (in Applbaum and others)
  • Legitimate foreign intervention
  • The role of democratic procedures and substantive outcomes in justifying power
  • “Wanton” government and other failures of agency
  • Applications of Applbaum’s arguments to contemporary issues

For the topic of legitimacy beyond the state we invite contributions that tackle the following issues:

  • Conceptually understanding legitimacy beyond the state
  • Group agency and legitimacy beyond the state
  • The legitimacy of international organisations, especially international courts
  • The political legitimacy of responses to climate change
  • Existential threats to humanity and political legitimacy

Papers should be submitted by September 1, 2022 and should be between 3.000 and 10.000 words in length.

All submissions will undergo MOPP’s double-blind refereeing process. Please note that this process is not organized by the guest editors but by the journal’s founding editors who will also have the final word on publication decisions.

The journal website can be accessed at

The journal’s manuscript submission site can be accessed at

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