Raz on Authority and Democracy

Dialogue 51 (2):211-230 (2012)
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ABSTRACT: I argue that Joseph Raz’s service conception of authority cannot convincingly account for the nature and source of democratic authority. It cannot explain why decisions made democratically are more likely to be sound than decisions made non-democratically, and therefore, why democratic decisions might be understood as constituting moral reasons for action and compliance independently of their instrumental dimensions. My argument is that democratic authority cannot be explained completely in terms of the truth or soundness of the outcomes it tends toward. A full account of democratic authority must involve non-instrumental values about the moral caliber of democratic procedures.

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David Rondel
University of Nevada, Reno


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