A Theory of Political Obligation: Membership, Commitment, by Margaret Gilbert

By Margaret Gilbert

Margaret Gilbert bargains an incisive new method of a vintage challenge of political philosophy: while and why may still I do what the legislations tells me to do? Do i've got exact duties to comply to the legislation of my very own state and if this is the case, why? In what feel, if any, needs to I struggle in wars during which my nation is engaged, if ordered to take action, or undergo the penalty for legislations breaking--including the dying penalty? Gilbert's available publication bargains a provocative and compelling case in desire of electorate' responsibilities to the nation, whereas interpreting how those could be squared with self-interest and different competing concerns.

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30 Ibid. 31 Ibid. Pothier goes on to say that jurists define perfect obligations as involving ‘a bond of right, binding us to another, to give, do or refrain from doing something’. Note that he allows that there are two legitimate senses of ‘obligation’, though one is the ‘more proper’ sense. g. Rawls (1971); Simmons (1979); Pateman (1979); Klosko (1992). 33 Simmons (1979) spends some time spelling out a narrower use he culls from the writings of Hart and Rawls. He allows that there is a broader use of ‘obligation’ and says he will consider both obligations in the narrow sense and duties with respect to his problem of political obligation.

9, below. 34 a problem of political obligation Recalcitrance to the Obligated Person’s Will A further point may be added to these preliminary observations. If we consider two standard contexts in which people talk of obligations, we find that the obligated person is generally not in a position to remove the obligation, prior to fulfilling it, with no more than a mental act of his own. In the case of a promise, for instance, the promisor cannot simply decide that ‘the promise is off’ and hence free himself of his obligation to fulfil the promise.

3 Nor shall I offer a complete account of obligation that encompasses all of the 1 One who is keen to forge ahead could read Sect. 1, the summary of Sect. 2, and Sects. 4, returning as necessary later. 2 See the very useful discussion in Brandt (1964) for an extended illustration of this point. 3 The opposite approach is taken in Hart (1955), whose position is discussed in Sect. 2, below. obligations 27 different uses mentioned. It may well be that no useful account can be given. For, whatever their commonalities, it is evident from the above examples that so-called obligations are of significantly different types.

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