Southwest Philosophy Review

Volume 26, Issue 1, January 2010

Jason Wyckoff
Pages 51-59

The Inseparability Thesis
Why Political Legitimacy Entails Political Obligations

Several noted political theorists have argued that a state can be legitimate even if it does not generate in its citizens an obligation to obey the law. I argue that this claim is false. All plausible analyses of political legitimacy either build in the concept of political obligation, or else incorporate claims that require some account of political obligation. In either case, political legitimacy is possible only when a state successfully generates in its citizens an obligation to obey the law.

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