Chapter

Legitimacy and Unanimity

Thomas Nagel

in Equality and Partiality

Published in print August 1995 | ISBN: 9780195098396
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199870059 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195098390.003.0004
Legitimacy and Unanimity

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The task of discovering the conditions of legitimacy is traditionally conceived as that of finding a way to justify a political system to everyone who is required to live under it. If the justification is successful, no one will have grounds for moral complaint about the way it takes into account and weighs his interests and point of view. Nagel uses Kant's unanimity criterion in relation to political institutions and to the individual lives of their members; he maintains that unanimity could be achieved by us in many respects as we are, provided that we are also reasonable and committed within reason to modifying our claims, requirements, and motives in a direction that makes a common framework of justification possible.

Keywords: justification; legitimacy; unanimity

Chapter.  2830 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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