New Item for Your Bookshelf

Perry Metzger, at the UK Samizdata blog, has found a book that I’m snatching up and I think you should as well.

The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey by Michael Huemer, a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Perry writes, “Huemer systematically addresses the justifications that have been articulated for political authority over the centuries, from hypothetical social contract theory to consequentialism and everything in between. I will give away the punchline by noting that his arguments would appear to fatally damage all of them.

“Political philosophers generally start by attempting to construct a complete moral framework within which they justify their positions. Huemer takes an entirely different approach. He does not assume that we all agree on a single universal moral framework. He only assumes that most of us generally share similar moral intuitions about certain sorts of situations in the average case. (The strongest sort of assumption he demands is that his reader agree that beating people up without provocation is usually bad.)

“Because he demands that the reader agree with him on so few things and so weakly, Huemer’s argument gains enormous strength, since there is no need to accept an all-encompassing ethical theory to believe the rest of his arguments.

Read the rest of Perry’s post and then hit the Amazon link to read some of the reviews. Then you’ll want to click the “Buy” button.

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