By Margaret Gilbert
Margaret Gilbert bargains an incisive new method of a vintage challenge of political philosophy: while and why should still I do what the legislations tells me to do? Do i've got detailed 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 within which my state is engaged, if ordered to take action, or undergo the penalty for legislation breaking--including the demise penalty? Gilbert's obtainable publication deals a provocative and compelling case in desire of voters' duties to the nation, whereas reading how those may be squared with self-interest and different competing concerns.
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Extra info for A Theory of Political Obligation: Membership, Commitment, and the Bonds of Society
Again, though Hart speciﬁcally says that obligations may be ‘voluntarily incurred or created’, some later writers suppose that obligations, in the proper narrow sense, must be voluntarily incurred. In other words, it is logically impossible to have an obligation—in the sense at issue—that you did not 34 Such as Horton (1992: 14). His account of obligations in the broad sense he works with is much like the partial account just presented here, except that he says obligations are moral reasons for acting.
10 When I refer to a person’s ‘self-interest’ in what follows this is how it should be understood. The latter point connects with a well-known contrast made by H. L. A. 11 One can properly say, ‘I was obliged to do it’ without implying that one had an obligation to do it. One’s ‘being obliged’ might be a matter of self-interest. It could be a matter of obligation, but it need not. In illustration of this, consider the case of residents of an imperator’s territory where agents of the imperator are known to track down anyone who contravenes the imperator’s directives and punish them severely.
For one must at some point ask: what is it to have an ‘obligation to’ another person? What is it to have a right ‘against’ a person? These phrases become open to a variety of interpretations (which they have, indeed, received). Things are pinned down very little by the phrases themselves. I shall therefore not strip any more from Hart’s characterization of obligations. I shall maintain within it the notion of ‘owing’. In this way it retains some substance. In the literature, obligations simply characterized as obligations ‘to’ another person, correlative with rights of that person against the person with the obligation, have become known as ‘directed’ or ‘relational’ obligations.
A Theory of Political Obligation: Membership, Commitment, and the Bonds of Society by Margaret Gilbert