The Problem of Intergenerational Sovereignty

Michael Otsuka

in Libertarianism without Inequality

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780199243952
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598142 | DOI:
 The Problem of Intergenerational Sovereignty

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Considers the merits of the Locke‐inspired Jeffersonian idea that laws enacted by those who once lived in one's country but are now dead have no authority over the living and hence should lapse unless they are reaffirmed by a democratic majority vote of the living. Considers and rejects consequentialist, communitarian, and Madisonian attempts to justify the authority of the dead over the living. Draws on Ch. 5 to propose and endorse an account based on unanimous Lockean consent of how the laws of the dead can legitimately bind the living.

Keywords: authority of dead over living; communitarianism; democracy; intergenerational sovereignty; Thomas Jefferson; James Madison; majority rule; unanimous consent

Chapter.  9247 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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