Civil disobedience and political obligation

Christiano traces this disagreement to what he calls the facts of judgment: diversity in people's natural talents and cultural surroundings, cognitive biases in their interpretation of people's interests and the value assigned to their own interests relative to the value assigned to the interests of others, and fallibility in both moral and non-moral judgment.

plato on civil disobedience

Kant's theory employs the same basic concepts as Hobbes's and Locke's — natural or innate rights, the state of nature, and the social contract — but he puts them to different use.

Greenawalt, Kent, In part, this latest rejoinder by Simmons evidences and gives further impetus to a shift in the debate over political obligation from the question of what gives states a right to rule particular people, to which correlates their duty to obey the law, to the question of what gives states a right to rule over a particular territory.

civil disobedience in a democracy is morally justified

If an official's breach of a specific duty is more in keeping with the spirit and overall aims of the office than a painstaking respect for its particular duties is, then the former might be said to adhere better than the latter does to the demands of the office GreenawaltRule departures resemble civil disobedience in that both involve dissociation from and condemnation of certain policies and practices.

So, although Raz may have grounds to hold that in the truly liberal society a right to civil disobedience would not exist and that, to the extent that our society approximates such a regime, the case for such a right diminishes, nevertheless in the majority of real societies, if not all real societies, a right to civil disobedience does exist.

There are several reasons to take this view.

Theories of political obligation

It is unpersuasive because the members of the modern polity lack the close and intimate relationships with one another that family members typically share; and it is unattractive because it raises the possibility that the paternalism appropriate within the family may be extended to the polity. As a result, the judge increased her sentence from 40 to 60 days. Tree-hugging, for example, can delay or curtail a clear-cut logging scheme and thereby prolong the protection of an eco-system. These exhortations would have us vote in elections and be well-informed voters; buy government bonds; limit our use of water and other scarce resources; donate blood, service, or money beyond what we owe in taxes in times of crisis; and generally contribute in an active way to the common good. Obligation in this second sense describes a normative relationship between two or more parties, one that can be created via a suitable act of will; for example, by what Gilbert calls an exercise of joint commitment. To escape so dreadful a condition, people surrender their independence by entering into a covenant to obey a sovereign power that will have the authority to make, enforce, and interpret laws. First, the duty to obey the law is general both in the sense that it is a duty to obey the entire body of law in a given jurisdiction and in the sense that the duty is borne by all those living within that jurisdiction.

Walker holds that one may have an obligation of gratitude not only to other persons but also to institutions, including the state or polity; but critics such as Simmons disagreepp.

Virtual actions rarely succeed in completely shutting down their targets, but they often generate significant media attention.

rawls civil disobedience

Whether a plurality of principles is necessary or even desirable, in sum, remains one of many open questions with regard to the vexing problem of political obligation. This would suggest that civil disobedience should be regarded in the eyes of the law as a different kind of disobedience from common crimes.

Some of these attempts apply specifically to Wolff's a priori attack on political authority and obligation, while others apply to philosophical anarchism in general.

Is civil disobedience ever justified essay

Since, in most cases, she wishes to benefit or, at least, not to suffer from her unlawful action, it is in her interests to preserve the secrecy of her conduct. This leaves two options: civil disobedience deserves greater censure or it deserves less censure than ordinary crimes do. Trespassing on a military base to spray-paint nuclear missile silos in protest against current military policy would be an example of indirect civil disobedience. People who use indirect disobedience have, other things being equal, no objective reasons to breach the law that they breach. There is a middle ground, and it is fertile soil for a theory of political obligation, just as it is for those who believe that being a member of a family entails obligations that we have neither chosen, on the one hand, nor incurred against our will, on the other. Raz argues that only in an illiberal regime do certain individuals have a right to civil disobedience. Choice of specific act[ edit ] Civil disobedients have chosen a variety of different illegal acts. Whether we really have a civic duty to do any or all of these things may be a matter of dispute, but appeals to civic duty are certainly quite common, and it is hardly clear that there is something to be gained by reclassifying them as appeals to political obligation. For Murphy, surrender of judgment is consent in the usual sense of voluntary agreement or acceptance. Desert theory, by contrast, takes a backward-looking view of the purpose and justification of punishment, focusing on what the offender deserves for her action.

These offenders are conscientiously motivated and often their protests serve the interests of society by forcing a desirable re-examination of moral boundaries.

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Political Obligation (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)