Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Marsilius of Padua on Legislation - Dictionary of Arguments

Höffe I 179
Legislation/Marsilius/Höffe: In the course of the analysis of legislator, law and government and their mutual relations Marsilius brings in a later famous definition of the legislator. In it he argues for the origin of state power with the people concerned, the citizens, but not so clearly that one can see in him a clear representative of modern popular sovereignty. The definition reads:
Def Lawmaker/Marsilius: (...) "is the people (populus) or the totality of citizens (civium universitas) or their valencior pars"(1), ...
Höffe: ...which can be understood as a more weighty, but also a more powerful part.
Höffe I 180
People/citizenship/eligible voters: The entirety of citizens, however, does not exercise legislative power directly, but representatively. They delegate their legislative power to the larger and more influential part (maior et valentior pars).
Höffe: As already mentioned, the more detailed explanations of this idea are not clear-cut, for they range from the majority to that representative electoral elite, where one can think of the seven electors who were authorized to elect the emperor at that time. >Democracy/Marsilius.
Höffe I 182
[Marsilius] distinguishes, (...) with reference to Aristotle, the classical state powers of legislation, government and the judiciary. However, he subordinates the judiciary to the exercising power, and the latter to the legislation. In accordance with the idea of the sovereignty of the people, as far as he represents it (>Democracy/Marsilius), Marsilius places the legislature at the head of the public powers. >Law/Marsilius.


1. Marsilius, Defensor pacis, I, 12, § 3


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Marsilius of Padua
Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-06-20
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