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By Patrick Riley

On the middle of consultant govt is the query: "What makes executive and its brokers valid authorities?" The idea of consent to a social agreement among the citizen and his govt is valuable to this challenge. What are the capabilities of public authority? What are the people's rights in a self-governing and consultant kingdom? Patrick Riley offers a accomplished old research of the which means of agreement conception and a checking out of the inherent validity of the tips of consent and legal responsibility. He uncovers the serious courting among the act of keen and that of consenting in self-government and exhibits how "will" pertains to political legitimacy. His is the 1st large-scale research of social agreement conception from Hobbes to Rawls that provides "will" the primary position it occupies in contractarian considering.

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Additional resources for Will and Political Legitimacy: A Critical Exposition of Social Contract Theory in Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant and Hegel

Sample text

Rational will, elective power of the rational will. " Partisans of "such words," like Bishop Bramhall­ who also relish the absurd thought that "the will hath a dominion over its own acts" and that "the power to will is . . determinable by ourselves"-are saying things "as wild as ever were any spoken within the walls of Bedlam. " 1 4 In denying any distinction between a physiological-psycho- 26 Will and Political Legitimacy logical will and a moral or elective will, Hobbes was, as he was quite aware, rejecting a tradition that stretches at least from St.

Despite thi s vo luntari sm i n hi s mo ral and po litical theo ry, hi s fear o f arbi trary wi llfulness, o f what he calls "parti culari sm" and "ego ism, " led hi m to suspect the no tio n o f wi ll as much as to prai se i t. "78 Only co nsent can create duties, but men do no t kno w what they o ught to consent to ; as a result, great legi slato rs must someho w guide the wi lls o f men whi le leavi ng tho se wi lls free . 79 This requirement go t The Social Contract Tradition 17 Rousseau i nto seri ous di ffi culti es.

Clearly, one can build authoritarian politics on liberal voluntarist founda­ tions (as in the case of Hobbes) or hold that the people alone have the right to consent but lack suitable knowledge of what is worth consenting to (as in the case of Rousseau) . What is important is not to characterize theorists with a small handful of labels but to trace the consistency of their designs by using an essential concept such as will as a guide. This process will yield conclusions that appear less firm; one will no longer say that Rousseau is eithe� a liberal or a totalitarian, but one's judgments will be better grounded and less arbitrary.

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