Practical Philosophy Seminar - Antoinette Scherz: Reasons to Comply for States: How Can International Institutions Bind States?
The tension between the authority of states and the authority of international institutions is a persistent feature of international relations, which legitimacy assessments of international institutions must address. Such exclusionary content-independent reasons for states to comply and not to interfere. Yet what are such reasons for states? What kind of reasons can ground authority? And are the reasons that apply do states different from those for individuals?
The paper addresses these questions by proposing an autonomy-based conception of legitimacy. It argues that self-regarding reasons cannot ground political authority with the respective demand for compliance, because the protection of autonomy needs to be valued higher. Therefore, only other-regarding reasons can ground authority. The paper argues further that reasons for states are based on reasons that apply to individuals. This highly restricts the domain of self-regarding reasons, which cannot be subject to the authority of international institutions. Finally, it discusses whether there is a difference in reasons for democratic and non-democratic states.