A System of Rights by Rex Martin

By Rex Martin

The justification of political authority is a long-standing factor of political philosophy, one that over and over defies answer. This ebook offers an unique justification by means of constructing a framework for facing this challenge. The version that emerges is one during which definite varieties of political rights are emphasised. Martin discusses the consequences of the sort of process for democratic associations, political allegiance, punishment, and eventually for the character of political authority.

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Example text

Now, there seems to me only one way in which the connection so understood could be a matter of logical entailment. It could be only if the practical reasoning involved could be set out in a schema—call it (5)—and, further, only if that schema itself expressed a logical entailment. For we could then get that (a) & (s) logically entail (b):(d) & (s) -> (6). Thus, the question whether the connection I have discussed is, more precisely, one of logical entailment would depend on carefully developed views as to the logical character of a schema for practical inference (for example, a schema like the "if...

The classical externalist approach reduces the issue of justification by focusing on a single one of the elements, on, for example, a strict obligation to obey laws qua valid laws. The implications of this reductionist move are striking, as I have tried to show; for just insofar as the obligation to conform to laws, say, is not thought to be grounded in or derived from elements in the notion of authority—or for that matter from other political concepts at all (such as from the notions and institutions of democracy)—the justifying grounds for that obligation must be sought outside the body of political concepts altogether.

For it is the object of this book to determine whether the principles of a system of rights do constitute a coherent set and, in particular, whether they can ground, through this coherence, the presence of the elements of political authority in states properly said to be rights-producing. I realize that if a different system had been chosen for illustration, a different analysis and perhaps different conclusions would have been required. Even so, I think the basic logical points involved here would be invariant for all such systems.

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