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L20 - Philosophical Anarchism

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University of Ottawa
Daniel Kofman

April 3, 2014 Robert Paul Wolff PhilosophicalAnarchism -autonomy and authority and genuinely incompatible because authority isn’t just power, it’s someone who claims to have power over you and you concede that right. That implies that you have agreed consented to that authority. • Illegitimate and immoral • 2 options: either we must embrace philosophical anarchism and treat all governments as non-legitimate bodes…or else we must give up…autonomy in the political realm and submit ourselves by an implicit promise to whatever forms of government appears most just and beneficent at the moment. I cannot resist repeating yet again that…there is no universal or a priori reason for binding ourselves to a democratic government rather than to any other sort. In some situations, it may be wiser to seart allegian to a benevolent and efficient dictatorship • But it is out of the question to give up the commitment to moral autonomy. Mena are no better than children if they not only accept the rule of others from force of necessity, but embrace it willingly and forfeit their duty uncasinlg to weight the merits of the actions which they perform…I am then guilty of what Kant might have called the sin of willful heteronomy. • Is this view correct? • A.J. Simmons 1979 – defending philosophical anarchism • First objection: Promising (commitment) and autonomy are NOT incompatible • Suppose political obligation derives from something akin to a promise, or an “implicit promise.” • Placing oneself under an obligation through promising is NOT incompatible with autonomy, and on the contrary is an aspect of autonomy for zooi politikoi • When you make a promise, you limit your freedom – place yourself under an obligation; no longer free to do what you’d like. Locke – commitments are required for us to successfully participate in social life; reliance, trust, contracts, etc. • Promises and obligation are essential for rational agents engage in joint projects, from work to marriage, as well as joint rule. It is an essential property of voluntary koinoniae. • Given that promises and commitments are essential requirements of social life, they are essential means at the disposal of rational/linguistic beings for engaging in communal life. It follows that so far from their (1) not being contrary to autonomous rational
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