A Quasi-Contract Theory of Political Obligation
- 28 Downloads
Whether there is a general moral obligation to obey the law, often referred to as ‘political obligation’, is an enduring question in contemporary legal and political philosophy. Theories are continually being formulated, criticized, and reformulated as theorists attempt to settle this issue. However, there yet remains no general consensus as to whether any theory successfully answers this question in either the affirmative or the negative. I propose the legal doctrine of quasi-contract as a candidate for making sense of this persistent issue. While the duty to reciprocate and the principle of reasonable expectations each falls short when independently advanced as a theory of political obligation, quasi-contract, which combines reciprocity, reasonable expectations, and additional moral considerations, is able to establish a satisfactory account of political obligation.
The author would like to thank Jere Surber, Candace Upton, Raja Raghunath, and especially Jeffrey Brown for their invaluable input on previous drafts of this paper.