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Political LegitimacyNOMOS LXI$
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Jack Knight and Melissa Schwartzberg

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479888696

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479888696.001.0001

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In Defense of Functionalism

In Defense of Functionalism

(p.47) 2 In Defense of Functionalism
Political Legitimacy

Jonathan Quong

NYU Press

This chapter provides a response to Anna Stilz’s chapter in this volume, “Legitimacy and Self-Determination.” I argue that Stilz’s Kantian approach to political autonomy and self-determination is vulnerable to a serious dilemma. Her account either cannot explain various intuitively wrongful instances of colonialism and annexation, or else it can only do so by departing from its Kantian foundations. I then defend a functionalist approach to political legitimacy, one that appeals to the pro tanto wrongness of involuntarily changing people’s political status. I argue, contra Stilz, that such a functionalist approach can adequately explain why certain cases of colonialism and territorial annexation are wrongful.

Keywords:   colonialism, Kant, political autonomy, political legitimacy, self-determination, Stilz

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