In defense of content-independence

Legal Theory 23 (3):143-167 (2017)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Discussions of political obligation and political authority have long focused on the idea that the commands of genuine authorities constitute content-independent reasons. Despite its centrality in these debates, the notion of content-independence is unclear and controversial, with some claiming that it is incoherent, useless, or increasingly irrelevant. I clarify content-independence by focusing on how reasons can depend on features of their source or container. I then solve the long-standing puzzle of whether the fact that laws can constitute content-independent reasons is consistent with the fact that some laws must fail to bind due to their egregiously unjust content. Finally I defend my understanding of content-independence against challenges and show why it retains a place of special importance for questions about the law and political obligation. Content-independence highlights that it is some feature of the law or law-making process in general that is supposed to generate moral obligations for citizens, not the merits of particular laws.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
First archival date: 2017-04-08
Latest version: 2 (2017-04-29)
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
Trust and Antitrust.Baier, Annette
The Authority of Democracy.Christiano, Thomas

View all 20 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
104 ( #22,749 of 39,581 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
23 ( #20,194 of 39,581 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.