Normative Consent and Authority

Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (3):255-275 (2013)
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In his recent book Democratic Authority, David Estlund defends a strikingly new and interesting account of political authority, one that makes use of a distinctive kind of hypothetical consent that he calls ‘normative consent’: a person can come to have a duty to obey another when it is the case that, were she given the chance to consent to the duty, she would have a duty to consent to it. If successful, Estlund’s account promises to provide what has arguably so far remained elusive: the basis for the authority of suitably democratic laws. In this paper, I argue that, despite its promise, the account Estlund develops is, in a crucial respect, incoherent: the principle of normative consent that he offers relies on a claim about a hypothetical situation, but the hypothetical situation at issue is one that, according to the principle itself, is morally impossible.
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Against Normative Consent.Nicolas Frank - 2016 - Journal of Social Philosophy 47 (4):470-487.

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