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Bernard Williams and the basic legitimation demand: a defence

Hall, Edward (2015) Bernard Williams and the basic legitimation demand: a defence. Political Studies, 63 (2). pp. 466-480. ISSN 0032-3217

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-9248.12070


In this article I discuss Bernard Williams' realist conception of legitimacy. According to his critics Williams tacitly incorporates various moral claims, endorses a philosophically suspect ‘consensus’ view of politics, and employs an unrealistic and moralised conception of political rule. I argue that these criticisms mischaracterise the nature of the basic legitimation demand and the judgements about the acceptability of the state at its core and conclude that political theorists who object to the direction and style of much contemporary political theory should take seriously the possibility of developing an appropriately ‘political’ political theory on Williamsian lines.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 The Author
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Departments > Government
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2013 14:53
Last Modified: 20 May 2021 00:58
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council

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