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Political Theory

2007

Political obligation

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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Simmons’ Critique Of Natural Duty Approaches To The Duty To Obey The Law, David Lefkowitz Oct 2007

Simmons’ Critique Of Natural Duty Approaches To The Duty To Obey The Law, David Lefkowitz

Philosophy Faculty Publications

In his most recent book on the moral duty to obey the law, A. John Simmons considers and rejects a number of natural duty approaches to justifying political authority. Among the targets of Simmons’ criticism is the account defended by the book’s co-author, Christopher Heath Wellman. In this essay, I evaluate the force of Simmons’ objections to Wellman’s account of political obligation. As will become clear below, I think Wellman’s defense of the duty to obey the law defective in certain ways—but not in all of the ways that Simmons argues it is. By rebutting some ...


A Theory Of Political Obligation: Membership, Commitment, And The Bonds Of Society By Margaret Gilbert (Book Review), David Lefkowitz Jun 2007

A Theory Of Political Obligation: Membership, Commitment, And The Bonds Of Society By Margaret Gilbert (Book Review), David Lefkowitz

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Does membership in a political society, in and of itself, involve obligations to uphold that society’s political institutions? Margaret Gilbert offers a novel argument in defense of an affirmative answer to this question, which she labels the membership problem. Given a plausible construal of the concepts obligation, political society, and membership in a political society, Gilbert argues that it follows analytically that to be a member of a political society just is to have an obligation to uphold and support that society’s political institutions. The key to Gilbert’s argument is the idea of a joint commitment; those ...