States of nature, epistemic and political

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The paper asks what is living in political state-of-nature approaches, and answers by way of considering recent epistemic uses of state-of-nature arguments. Using Edward Craig's idea that a concept of knowledge can be explicated from the need for good informants, I argue that a concept of authority can be explicated from a parallel need for good practical informants. But this need not justify rule of a Platonic elite. Practically relevant epistemic advantages are more likely to be secured by the political creation of institutions. In conclusion it is suggested that this approach can explain a problem of justification which arises for Joseph Raz's account of authority.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-224
Number of pages14
JournalProceedings of the Aristotelean Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


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