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Lecture 5

POLI 231 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Consequentialism, Practical Reason, Direct Democracy

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 231
Arash Abizadeh

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01.20.2016 Lecture 5: Wolff’s Defense of Anarchism
1. Authority
The right to command and the right to be obeyed is correlative.
Vs Power
power does not come with the right
Descriptive Sense
Describing the attitudes of a society, describing a sociological fact
In this sense, people believe that authority is legitimate
Vs Normative Sense
You are asserting a truth, and in political theory, this is the sense that interests us.
With reasons, debate or disagreement you are not describing, but rather if they should
Authority obey command
A. Not by virtue of independently good reasons
One reason to do something, because it is good, not because they are an authority
However, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it if it is said by an authority
B. But by virtue of the person’s position
Just because they said so, not because of beneficiaries of actions.
Legitimacy: Same two senses
A. Descriptive sense: sociological description
B. Normative sense: not a description, but rather an evaluation
2. Political philosophy:
The task of: To evaluate the conditions in which we obey, and in which conditions, the
state has the right to command
3. Wolffs Assumption: legitimacy from compatibility with moral autonomy
-Moral philosophy Responsibility Freedom of Will (12)
If duty is not compatible, do not do it.
-Free will + Reason Duty to take responsibility
One has the duty to take part in ethical reflection, to live the examined life.
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