Res Publica

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 475–486 | Cite as

Partisanship and Political Obligation: Some Sceptical Thoughts

  • Daniel WeinstockEmail author


In Partisanship and Political Liberalism in Diverse Societies, Matteo Bonotti argues that the problem of political obligation can be solved for at least a sub-set of citizens, namely, for political partisans. Bonotti claims that the benefits that accrue to partisans in virtue of a principle of fair play warrant their observing a duty to obey the law. In this paper, I first point to the strength of the argument: it purports to generate a duty of all partisans to obey all laws, not just laws to do with the political system. I argue that this strong argument does not work, though a weaker argument, connecting partisanship to an obligation to obey laws to do with the political system, might. I suggest an alternative argument that might more securely connect the benefits of partisanship to an obligation to obey the law, one that is grounded in obligations of partisanship, especially those of highly visible members of parties.


Partisanship Obligation Law 



  1. Habermas, Jurgen. 1995. Reconciliation Through the Public Use of Reason: Remarks on John Rawls’ Political Liberalism. The Journal of Philosophy 92 (3): 109–131.Google Scholar
  2. Honig, Bonnie. 1993. Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

Personalised recommendations