Cover: Will and Political Legitimacy: A Critical Exposition of Social Contract Theory in Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, and Hegel, from Harvard University PressCover: Will and Political Legitimacy in E-DITION

Will and Political Legitimacy

A Critical Exposition of Social Contract Theory in Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, and Hegel

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Product Details

E-DITION

$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674435506

Publication Date: 11/01/1982

276 pages

World

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At the heart of representative government is the question: “What makes government and its agents legitimate authorities?” The notion of consent as a social contract between the citizen and his government is central to this problem. That contract allows the government to rule over the citizen and to exact obedience from him in return for certain protections and goods he needs.

While few quarrel with the broad outlines of this “liberal” doctrine of governing, questions arise about the limits of consent and of contract. What are the functions of public authority? What are the people’s rights in a self-governing and representative state? It is at this point that Patrick Riley’s new book enters contemporary debate with a comprehensive historical analysis of the meaning of contract theory and a testing of the inherent validity of the ideas of consent and obligation.

Riley’s distinctive contribution is in making of “will” the foundation of consent and promise and thereby of political obligations. His is the first large-scale study of social contract theory from Hobbes to Rawls that gives “will” the central place it occupies in contractarian thinking. He uncovers the critical relationship between the act of willing and that of consenting in self-government and shows how “will” relates to political legitimacy.

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Jacket: Atomic Doctors: Conscience and Complicity at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age, by James L. Nolan, Jr., from Harvard University Press

Remembering Hiroshima

On this day 75 years ago, the United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. James L. Nolan Jr.’s grandfather was a doctor who participated in the Manhattan Project, and he writes about him in Atomic Doctors: Conscience and Complicity at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age, an unflinching examination of the moral and professional dilemmas faced by physicians who took part in the project. Below, please find the introduction to Nolan’s book. On the morning of June 17, 1945, Captain James F. Nolan, MD, boarded a plane