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Top rated philosophy books on Reddit rank no. 9
Stanford Philosopher examines the legitimacy of political power(r/philosophy)
Essentially there are five principles implicit in political authority (page 17) 1. Generality 2. Particularity 3. Content-Independence 4. Comprehensiveness 5. Supremacy. Throughout the work he challenges the ideas of political legitimacy and political obligations.
He does a good job dissecting the social contract and in particular pointing out the failure of the assumptions present in its implicit variant: passive consent, consent through acceptance of benefits, consent through presence, and consent through participating, by examining similar moral situations that would lead us to reject such statements. He also shows how social contracts tend to violate the principles of a valid contract. There’s difficulty in opting out, failure in recognizing explicit dissent, unconditional imposition, and absence of mutual obligation.
As you can see he does much more in the book(challenging hypothetical social contracts, Rawl’s veil of ignorance, consequentialism, etc.). I haven’t finished reading it yet but I found the chapter on the psychology of authority to be the most interesting so far. He looks at some case studies(Milgram, Stanford Prison Experiment) and examines our cognitive biases(status quo biases, Stockholm Syndrome), as well as the aesthetics of governmental institutions to understand why so many people believe in political legitimacy and obligation.
If anything, it seems the reason so many people held odd assumptions about absence of political power, is that they worry about threats to their life(security, defense, law, safety, etc.) But given the number of threats present by political authority, as well as the general lack of obligation on the part of authorities to help their citizens(see Warren v. District of Columbia, there have been many other cases like this), and moral illegitimacy present in most laws, the alternative seems to be clearly better than the present. Anarchy seems to be much more favorable and it’s not at all clear if states really are protecting us from chaos or some sort of danger, or if they are just increasing it themselves.