With respect to democracy we can imagine three main approaches to thequestion as to whether democratic decisions have authority. First, wecan appeal to perfectly general conceptions of legitimateauthority. Some have thought that the question of authority isindependent entirely of whether a state is democratic. Consenttheories of political authority and instrumentalist conceptions ofpolitical authority state general criteria of political authority thatcan be met by non democratic as well as democratic states. Second,some have thought that there is a conceptual link between democracyand authority such that if a decision is made democratically then itmust therefore have authority. Third, some have thought that there aregeneral principles of political authority that are uniquely realizedby a democratic state under certain well defined conditions.


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