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By A. John Simmons

The attribute good points of transparent argumentation and cautious scholarship which have been hallmarks of the philosophy of A. John Simmons are in every single place obtrusive during this assortment. The essays specialize in the issues of political legal responsibility and country legitimacy in addition to on ancient theories of estate and justice. Cumulatively the gathering offers a particular social and political philosophy, exploring the character of our so much basic rights and responsibilities, and exhibiting the ability and plausibility of Lockean excellent concept.

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Extra info for Justification and legitimacy: essays on rights and obligations

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Not, I think, very plausible. The benefits in ques­ tion have been mentioned before: the rule of law, protection by armed forces, pollution control, maintenance of highway systems, avenues of polit­ ical participation, and so on. But these benefits are what we have called "open" benefits. It is precisely in cases of such "open" benefits that it is least plausible to suggest that benefits are being accepted by most beneficiaries. It will, of course, be difficult to be certain about the acceptance of bene­ fits in actual cases; but on any natural understanding of the notion of "acceptance, " our having accepted open benefits involves our having had certain attitudes toward and beliefs about the benefits we have received (as noted in Section N) .

And this does not look like a result that either Hart or Rawls would be prepared to accept. Perhaps it is, after all, just the result Nozick wished to argue for. v When we move to political communities the "schemes of social coopera­ tion " with which we will be concerned will naturally be schemes on a rather grand scale. We may, with Rawls, think that the maintenance of the legal order should be "construed as a system of social cooperation, " or perhaps we will want to identify all the workings of that set of political institutions governing "political society" generally as the operation of "the most complex example " of a cooperative scheme (as Hart seems to) .

Getting benefits which are "readily available" normally involves ( 1 ) trying to get the benefit. It is not clear, however, how one would go about trying to get an open benefit which is not distributed by request, but is rather received by everyone involved, whether they want it or not. If open benefits can be accepted, it would seem that method ( 2 ) of accepting benefits is the way in which this is normally accomplished. We can take the open benefits which we receive willingly and knowingly. But doing so involves a number of restrictions on our attitudes toward and beliefs about the open benefits we receive.

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