Scott J. Shapiro

in The Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780199270972
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law


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This article brings out the paradoxical nature of authority and discusses the solutions that have been offered on authority's behalf. It further examines two revisionist strategies. The first approach denies that legitimate authorities have the right to impose obligations when they are wrong. The second approach explores the basic premise of the paradoxes, namely, that legitimate authorities have the power to obligate even when wrong. This article suggests modifying our views about the nature of moral autonomy and attempts to justify these assertions and to demonstrate how their acceptance solves the paradoxes of authority within the different frameworks of legitimate authority. It concludes with various arguments that state moral anatomy constitutes the best response to the philosophical anarchist's challenge.

Keywords: paradoxical; revisionist strategies; moral autonomy; legitimate authority; authority

Article.  28916 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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