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N. P. Adams
McMaster University
  1.  81
    The Concept of Legitimacy.N. P. Adams - manuscript
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  2. Institutional Legitimacy.N. P. Adams - 2018 - Journal of Political Philosophy:84-102.
    Political legitimacy is best understood as one type of a broader notion, which I call institutional legitimacy. An institution is legitimate in my sense when it has the right to function. The right to function correlates to a duty of non-interference. Understanding legitimacy in this way favorably contrasts with legitimacy understood in the traditional way, as the right to rule correlating to a duty of obedience. It helps unify our discourses of legitimacy across a wider range of practices, especially including (...)
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  3. Uncivil Disobedience: Political Commitment and Violence.N. P. Adams - 2018 - Res Publica 24 (4):475-491.
    Standard accounts of civil disobedience include nonviolence as a necessary condition. Here I argue that such accounts are mistaken and that civil disobedience can include violence in many aspects, primarily excepting violence directed at other persons. I base this argument on a novel understanding of civil disobedience: the special character of the practice comes from its combination of condemnation of a political practice with an expressed commitment to the political. The commitment to the political is a commitment to engaging with (...)
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  4.  12
    Legitimacy and Institutional Purpose.N. P. Adams - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-19.
    Institutions undertake a huge variety of constitutive purposes. One of the roles of legitimacy is to protect and promote an institution’s pursuit of its purpose; state legitimacy is generally understood as the right to rule, for example. When considering legitimacy beyond the state, we have to take account of how differences in purposes change legitimacy. I focus in particular on how differences in purpose matter for the stringency of the standards that an institution must meet in order to be legitimate. (...)
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  5.  50
    Grounding Procedural Rights.N. P. Adams - 2019 - Legal Theory (1):3-25.
    Contrary to the widely accepted consensus, Christopher Heath Wellman argues that there are no pre-institutional judicial procedural rights. Thus commonly affirmed rights like the right to a fair trial cannot be assumed in the literature on punishment and legal philosophy as they usually are. Wellman canvasses and rejects a variety of grounds proposed for such rights. I answer his skepticism by proposing two novel grounds for procedural rights. First, a general right against unreasonable risk of punishment grounds rights to an (...)
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  6. In Defense of Content-Independence.N. P. Adams - 2017 - Legal Theory 23 (3):143-167.
    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 (...)
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  7.  91
    The Relational Conception of Practical Authority.N. P. Adams - 2018 - Law and Philosophy 37 (5):549-575.
    I argue for a new conception of practical authority based on an analysis of the relationship between authority and subject. Commands entail a demand for practical deference, which establishes a relationship of hierarchy and vulnerability that involves a variety of signals and commitments. In order for these signals and commitments to be justified, the subject must be under a preexisting duty, the authority’s commands must take precedence over the subject’s judgment regarding fulfillment of that duty, the authority must accept the (...)
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