NP Adams, 'State legitimacy, law, and the political subject'Nate Adams (University of Victoria)
ABSTRACT. Theories of state legitimacy require a deontic characterization of both the state and the state’s subject. Classically this characterization is that a legitimate state has the moral right to rule and state subjects correlatively possess a general duty to obey the law. Partly in response to skepticism about such a duty, philosophers have increasingly turned to revised characterizations. These revisionist accounts, however, still focus on the political subject as an exclusively legal subject. In this paper, I argue that this reduction of the political subject to the legal subject is untenable. A successful theory of state legitimacy must characterize our relations to the state in a way that recognizes our necessarily extralegal relation to the state and to the legal regime, including in our collective constituent power. Further, such a theory should take itself seriously as an ideology: as both appealing to and constructing political subjects’ identity. This expands the question of deontic status beyond Hohfeldian incidents to what kind of person our states require us to be.
January 17, 2022, 5:00pm BST
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