According to the standard or traditional account, those who hold political authority legitimately have a right to rule that entails an obligation of obedience on the part of those who are subject to their authority. In recent decades, however, and in part in response to philosophical anarchism, a number of philosophers have challenged the standard account by reconceiving authority in ways that break or weaken the connection between political authority and obligation. This paper argues against these revisionist accounts in two ways: first, by pointing to defects in their conceptions of authority; and second, by sketching a fair-play approach to authority and political obligation that vindicates the standard account.

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Copyright © 2018 Cambridge University Press. Article first published online: July 17, 2018.

DOI: 10.1017/S1352325218000083

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Full citation:

Dagger, Richard. "Authority, Legitimacy, and the Obligation to Obey the Law." Legal Theory 24, no. 2 (July 17, 2018): 77-102.