Political Science departmental seminar: "Political Legitimacy - A right to Rule or a Power to Command?"

Departmental Seminar
Open to the Public
Nador u. 9, Faculty Tower
Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 1:30pm
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Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 1:30pm to 3:10pm


You are cordially invited to the Political Science departmental seminar

"Political Legitimacy—A Right to Rule or a Power to Command?"

 delivered by

Merten Reglitz, Visiting Professor, Department of Political Science

Date: Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 13:30,

Venue: FT 908


What renders political authorities morally justified and how do they exercise their authority? My talk engages with these questions and tries to show that the standard terminology of legitimate authorities as possessing the ‘right to rule’ is problematic: interpreting authorities as resting on a claim-right to obedience biases our discussion of political legitimacy in favor of democratic institutions. This is problematic in a world in which we have to solve many problems requiring global coordination but where there might never exist global democratic authorities. The article suggests that when thinking about legitimate authorities, instead of focusing on the interests of the holders of a right to rule, we should concentrate on the interests of those subject to political authorities. What becomes thus available is the idea of authority as based on moral powers to command, a notion enabling us to better approach the global problems we face today.