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POLITICS, PRACTICAL REASON AND THE AUTHORITY OF LEGISLATION

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Abstract:

The article argues that the structure of practical reason has political implications regarding the authority of legislation. After arguing against one thesis about the relation between practical reason and legislative authority, namely, Waldron's “doctrine of the wisdom of the multitude”, it goes on to argue that the role of commonly held beliefs in practical reason helps to justify the authority of legislation. The connection between practical reason's structure and legislative authority explains why certain institutional designs embody a particular kind of recognition of other members of the political community. That recognition is connected to a particular division of reasoning labour between political institutions which, in turn, allows for a conception of political representation in which representatives are neither simply the bearers of their constituents opinions nor an elite that need not take in consideration those opinions. The last section discusses how agreement can be politically relevant in plural societies.

Keywords: Legislation; agreement; authority (legislation); democracy; practical reason; representation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • Legisprudence aims at contributing to the improvement of legislation by studying the processes of legislation from the perspective of legal theory. The content of the journal covers legislation in a broad sense. This comprises legislation in both the formal and the material sense (from national and European parliaments, regulation, international law), and alternatives to legislation (covenants, sunset legislation, etc.). It also takes in regulation (pseudo-legislation, codes of behaviour and deontological codes, etc.). The journal is theoretical and reflective. Contributions to the journal make use of an interdisciplinary method in legal theory. Comparative and system transcending approaches are encouraged. Sociological, historical, or economic studies are taken into account to the extent that they are relevant from the perspective of interdisciplinary legal theory. Dogmatic descriptions of positive law are not taken into consideration.
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