26 Ratio Juris 1 (2013)

handle is hein.journals/raju26 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Ratio Juris. Vol. 26 No. 1 March 2013 (1-15)

The Particularities of Legitimacy:

John Simmons

on Political Obligation


Abstract. In this paper, I examine the terms on which John Simmons  rejects all
arguments  for a moral obligation to obey the law and so defends philosophical
anarchism. Although  I accept his rejection of several criteria on which others
might and  often do insist, I criticize his reliance on the conditions of generality
and particularity. In doing so, I propose an alternative to his influential concep-
tion of legitimacy.


Whether   one is bound to obey  the law is part of the philosophical question
of political obligation. Although  the overall enquiry  also considers the
existence of positive requirements  to contribute to the government   of a
polity by, for instance, voting in elections (when not  legally compelled  to
do so), its negative element is my primary  concern  here.' More precisely,
I am  interested in the hugely  significant work  of John  Simmons   on  this
aspect of the problem. Yet more  precisely, I examine the terms on which  he
defends  (and  others contest) his sceptical response.

* I had the good fortune to present versions of this paper at seminars in Auckland,
Canberra, Edinburgh, Krakow, and Melbourne. I am grateful to the audiences on those
occasions as well as to several others for their discussion of it. For especially helpful
comments, I thank Zenon Bankowski, Emilios Christdoulidis, Jonathan Crowe, Patrick
Emerton, Jim Evans, and, for his commentary at the seminar in Melbourne in addition to
his earlier feedback, Dale Smith. I am also indebted to the journal's referees for their
' For recognition of these different facets of political obligation, see, among others, Edmund-
son 2004, 217; Gans 1992, 8; Green 1988, 222; Harris 1990, 151; Higgins 2004, 1; Knowles 2010,
6; Raz 2009a, 127; Simmons 1979, 4-5.

D 2013 The Author. Ratio Juris D 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main
Street, Malden 02148, USA.

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