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The Moral Limits of LawObedience, Respect, and Legitimacy$
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Ruth C. A. Higgins

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199265671

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199265671.001.0001

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Consent, Residence, and the Democratic Voice

Consent, Residence, and the Democratic Voice

(p.95) 3 Consent, Residence, and the Democratic Voice
The Moral Limits of Law

Ruth C. A. Higgins

Oxford University Press

Consent is a peculiarly liberal motif. The accounts advanced by A. John Simmons and Joseph Raz are explained in order to understand ‘consent’. Raz's model of consent provides a clearer and more complete ground of obligation, with a more exhaustive explanatory power, not contingent on actual reliance or detriment to be binding. The clear case of consent as a voluntary, knowing act, performed in the belief that it will in some way alter the normative context is shown. The binary ‘consent or emigrate’, and the scalar choice among more numerous options, providing mid-states between obligation and exile, are provided. Voting in democratic elections is discussed. There are central concerns about the legitimating potential of deliberation. A question remains whether Raz's theory neglects conceptual resources within the notion of community that could underwrite a mandatory and not merely permissible obligation to obey the law.

Keywords:   consent, residence, democratic voice, John Simmons, Joseph Raz, obligation, democratic elections

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