At the heart of representative government is the question: "What makes government and its agents legitimate authorities?" The notion of consent to a social contract between the citizen and his government is central to this problem. What are the functions of public authority? What are the people's rights in a self-governing and representative state? Patrick Riley presents a comprehensive historical analysis of the meaning of contract theory and a testing of the inherent validity of the ideas of consent and obligation. He uncovers the critical relationship between the act of willing and that of consenting in self-government and shows how "will" relates to political legitimacy. His is the first large-scale study of social contract theory from Hobbes to Rawls that gives "will" the central place it occupies in contractarian thinking.
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About the Author
Riley Patrick :
Patrick Riley is Oakeshott Professor of Political and Moral Philosophy, University of Wisconsin, Madison.