•  2
    Legitimacy Beyond the State: Normative and Conceptual Questions (edited book)
    with Antoinette Scherz and Cord Schmelzle
    Routledge. 2021.
    This volume addresses the normative legitimacy of the international order, asking how we can make sense of legitimacy claims of increasingly diverse global governance institutions and practices and how their legitimacy relates to and differs from state legitimacy. State legitimacy is a central concern of modern political thought but is inadequate when applied to institutions that differ from the state in type, level of governance, scope, and much else. We need a new, tailored approach to the leg…Read more
  •  291
    In defense of exclusionary reasons
    Philosophical Studies 178 (1): 235-253. 2021.
    Exclusionary defeat is Joseph Raz’s proposal for understanding the more complex, layered structure of practical reasoning. Exclusionary reasons are widely appealed to in legal theory and consistently arise in many other areas of philosophy. They have also been subject to a variety of challenges. I propose a new account of exclusionary reasons based on their justificatory role, rejecting Raz’s motivational account and especially contrasting exclusion with undercutting defeat. I explain the appeal…Read more
  •  272
    Legitimacy and institutional purpose
    Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 23 (3): 292-310. 2020.
    Institutions undertake a huge variety of constitutive purposes. One of the roles of legitimacy is to protect and promote an institution’s pursuit of its purpose; state legitimacy is generally understood as the right to rule, for example. When considering legitimacy beyond the state, we have to take account of how differences in purposes change legitimacy. I focus in particular on how differences in purpose matter for the stringency of the standards that an institution must meet in order to be le…Read more
  •  58
    Authority, Illocutionary Accommodation, and Social Accommodation
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (3): 560-573. 2020.
    By appeal to the phenomenon of presupposition accommodation, Rae Langton and others have proposed that speakers can gain genuine authority over their audiences when they implicitly claim such autho...
  •  81
    Legitimacy beyond the state: institutional purposes and contextual constraints
    Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 23 (3): 281-291. 2020.
    The essays collected in this special issue explore what legitimacy means for actors and institutions that do not function like traditional states but nevertheless wield significant power in the global realm. They are connected by the idea that the specific purposes of non-state actors and the contexts in which they operate shape what it means for them to be legitimate and so shape the standards of justification that they have to meet. In this introduction, we develop this guiding methodology fur…Read more
  •  297
    Grounding procedural rights
    Legal Theory (1): 3-25. 2019.
    Contrary to the widely accepted consensus, Christopher Heath Wellman argues that there are no pre-institutional judicial procedural rights. Thus commonly affirmed rights like the right to a fair trial cannot be assumed in the literature on punishment and legal philosophy as they usually are. Wellman canvasses and rejects a variety of grounds proposed for such rights. I answer his skepticism by proposing two novel grounds for procedural rights. First, a general right against unreasonable risk of …Read more
  •  313
    The Relational Conception of Practical Authority
    Law and Philosophy 37 (5): 549-575. 2018.
    I argue for a new conception of practical authority based on an analysis of the relationship between authority and subject. Commands entail a demand for practical deference, which establishes a relationship of hierarchy and vulnerability that involves a variety of signals and commitments. In order for these signals and commitments to be justified, the subject must be under a preexisting duty, the authority’s commands must take precedence over the subject’s judgment regarding fulfillment of that …Read more
  •  2251
    Uncivil Disobedience: Political Commitment and Violence
    Res Publica 24 (4): 475-491. 2018.
    Standard accounts of civil disobedience include nonviolence as a necessary condition. Here I argue that such accounts are mistaken and that civil disobedience can include violence in many aspects, primarily excepting violence directed at other persons. I base this argument on a novel understanding of civil disobedience: the special character of the practice comes from its combination of condemnation of a political practice with an expressed commitment to the political. The commitment to the poli…Read more
  •  444
    In defense of content-independence
    Legal Theory 23 (3): 143-167. 2017.
    Discussions of political obligation and political authority have long focused on the idea that the commands of genuine authorities constitute content-independent reasons. Despite its centrality in these debates, the notion of content-independence is unclear and controversial, with some claiming that it is incoherent, useless, or increasingly irrelevant. I clarify content-independence by focusing on how reasons can depend on features of their source or container. I then solve the long-standing pu…Read more
  •  911
    Institutional Legitimacy
    Journal of Political Philosophy 84-102. 2018.
    Political legitimacy is best understood as one type of a broader notion, which I call institutional legitimacy. An institution is legitimate in my sense when it has the right to function. The right to function correlates to a duty of non-interference. Understanding legitimacy in this way favorably contrasts with legitimacy understood in the traditional way, as the right to rule correlating to a duty of obedience. It helps unify our discourses of legitimacy across a wider range of practices, espe…Read more