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Title: Legitimating Leviathan: Hobbes, Rousseau, and Kant
Authors: Zuluaga Martinez, David
Advisors: Pettit, Philip N
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: Hobbes
Political Obligation
Subjects: Philosophy
Political science
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation offers a comprehensive interpretation of the political philosophies of Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant, and highlights some common principles of their theories of state legitimacy. While the respective parts of the dissertation can be read as freestanding monographs, they jointly illustrate the appeal of a specific understanding of the problem of political legitimacy. Hobbes, Rousseau, and Kant took legitimacy to be about the right to perform as a state—the right, that is, to be the sole entity authorized to act and speak in the people’s name. Notably, they believed that this right was conceptually independent from the quality of the state’s performance. For these early modern thinkers, legitimacy is a normative property that cannot be ascribed to states merely as a function of the degree to which they exercise their coercive power in accordance with principles of social justice. The distinction between legitimacy and justice as independent dimensions of political evaluation is exegetically illuminating in the context of Hobbes, Rousseau, and Kant. Furthermore, it is an important philosophical and practical insight in its own right. In this regard, Kant’s political philosophy stands out as a model for constructing a theory of legitimacy that captures the fact that a peaceful, orderly, and law-bound social world—a Rechtsstaat—is an enormous achievement worth protecting despite the injustices with which it can often coexist.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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