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Publicly Available Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg November 1, 2017

Legitimacy without Liberalism: A Defense of Max Weber’s Standard of Political Legitimacy

  • Amanda R. Greene EMAIL logo
From the journal Analyse & Kritik


In this paper I defend Max Weber's concept of political legitimacy as a standard for the moral evaluation of states. On this view, a state is legitimate when its subjects regard it as having a valid claim to exercise power and authority. Weber’s analysis of legitimacy is often assumed to be merely descriptive, but I argue that Weberian legitimacy has moral significance because it indicates that political stability has been secured on the basis of civic alignment. Stability on this basis enables all the goods of peaceful cooperation with minimal state violence and intimidation, thereby guarding against alienation and tyranny. Furthermore, I argue, since Weberian legitimacy is empirically measurable in terms that avoid controversial value judgments, its adoption would bridge a longstanding divide between philosophers and social scientists

Published Online: 2017-11-01
Published in Print: 2017-11-01

© 2017 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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