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A System of Rights$
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Rex Martin

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198292937

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198292937.001.0001

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On the Logic of Justifying Political Authority

On the Logic of Justifying Political Authority

(p.5) 1 On the Logic of Justifying Political Authority
A System of Rights

Rex Martin (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Three elements of authority are identified—a government's rightful title to issue rules, a reasonable expectation of compliance with them, and the propriety of using coercive enforcement to back them up—and the book argues that these elements need to be linked together in order for one to speak of political authority as justified. It argues, further, that the connection of these elements requires us to move to a background theory, which is itself a sketch of an internally coherent system of political institutions and conceptions (in the case at hand one that centres on rights). All this is set out in deliberate contrast to what might be called ‘external grounds of justification’, as found, for example, in what might be called the ‘obligationist tradition’ (e.g. social contract theory). Thus, an introduction to the character of this book and an overview of its main themes is provided in the book's first chapter.

Keywords:   coercive enforcement, compliance, internal coherence, justification, obligationism, political authority, rules, social contract theory

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