Mark Ethics, July 1999 v109 i4 p739 Justification and Legitimacy(*). (philosophy of the state) A. John Simmons. Abstract: Different arguments are needed to show that a state is justified and that it is legitimate. Justifying the state is associated with the treatises of 18th-century philosophers. The Lockean approach to this issue captures features of institutional evaluation that the Kantian approach does not. Standard justifications of the state are offered to those motivated by objections to states. Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1999 University of Chicago In this article I will discuss the relationship between two of the most basic ideas in political and legal philosophy: the justification of the state and state legitimacy. I plainly cannot aspire here to a complete account of these matters, but I hope to be able to say enough to motivate a way of thinking about the relation between these notions that is, I believe, superior to the approach which seems to be dominant in contemporary political philosophy. Today, showing that a state is justified and showing that it is legitimate are typically taken to require the very same arguments. I will argue that this contemporary stance obscures the difference between two central ways in which we should (and do) morally evaluate states, and it generates confusions about other serious practical issues, such as those surrounding our …
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