Travis Quigley


Joseph Raz’s service conception of law remains one of the best known theories of political authority. Setting aside ongoing debates about the nature of authority, I locate a problem in the basic justificatory structure of the service conception. I show that the service justification of the state does not yield the conclusion that the law generates exclusionary reasons, which are meant to be the key hallmark of authority. An automatic but defeasible habit of obeying the state is likely to lead to better outcomes than exclusionary deference to the state. Given the instrumental justification of the service conception, this means that exclusionary reasons to defer do not obtain. Habituation and automaticity have been developed in other contexts and are here extended to the context of political authority. The possibility of habitual obedience undercuts Raz's theory while suggesting a new approach to the question of political authority



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