Politics, Practical Reason and the Authority of Legislation

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Abstract

The article argues that the structure of practical reason has political implications regarding the authority of legislation. After arguing against one thesis about the relation between practical reason and legislative authority, namely, Waldron’s 'doctrine of the wisdom of the multitude', it goes on to argue that the role of commonly held beliefs in practical reason helps to justify the authority of legislation. The connection between practical reason’s structure and legislative authority explains why certain institutional designs embody a particular kind of recognition of other members of the political community. That recognition is connected to a particular division of reasoning labour between political institutions which, in turn, allows for a conception of political representation in which representatives are neither simply the bearers of their constituents opinions nor an elite that need not take in consideration those opinions. The last section discusses how agreement can be politically relevant in plural societies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-89
Number of pages25
JournalLegisprudence
Volume1
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • Legislation
  • practical reason
  • agreement
  • representation
  • authority (legislation)
  • democracy

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