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Moral Philosophy and Politics

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Indirect Instrumentalism about Political Legitimacy

Matthias Brinkmann
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  • Political Philosophy, Policy & Law, University of Virginia, Gibson Hall S495, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA
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Published Online: 2018-10-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mopp-2018-0024


Political instrumentalism claims that the right to rule should be distributed such that justice is promoted best. Building on a distinction made by consequentialists in moral philosophy, I argue that instrumentalists should distinguish two levels of normative thinking about legitimacy, the critical and applied level. An indirect instrumentalism which acknowledges this distinction has significant advantages over simpler forms of instrumentalism that do not.

Keywords: political legitimacy; instrumentalism; justice; consequentialism; indirect moral theories


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Published Online: 2018-10-27

Citation Information: Moral Philosophy and Politics, ISSN (Online) 2194-5624, ISSN (Print) 2194-5616, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mopp-2018-0024.

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