In this chapter Brown considers the dominant means of approaching the issue of Political Obligation, an approach he terms the Rational Approach. Assuming the citizens of a political community are primarily motivated by reason, this approach argues that Political Obligation can, and should, be understood and justified against the paradigmatic framework of ‘reason’. Whilst acknowledging strengths to this approach, Brown ultimately argues the Rational Approach suffers a fundamental flaw in its ability to comprehend the relationship between citizen and State. This flaw is that, assuming its own perspective is that of ‘reason’, opposing views are by virtue ‘irrational’ and ‘unintelligible’. Subsequently unable to comprehend and engage with opposing perspectives, these are instead devalued and dismissed through degrading labels such as ‘savagery’ and ‘barbarism’. In short, the Rational Approach limits itself in its ability comprehend perspectives of Political Obligation which fall out-with its normative paradigm of ‘what is rational’.
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Brown, R.J. (2019). The ‘Rational Individual’: Rational Paradigms of Obligation. In: Political Encounters. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-17340-1_2
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
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