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Political Obligation

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Political Obligations of Obedience and of Participation

The entry on political obligation by Richard Dagger in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy begins with a clear and concise definition: “To have a political obligation is to have a moral duty to obey the laws of one’s country or state.” This obligation of obedience presupposes the existence of a legal order that deserves the obedience of its subjects, that is, all those subject to the law, not just the citizens who make it. Leaving aside for the most part the claim that there is a natural duty to obey the law, political obligations of this kind can be incurred through consent (including formal contracts and less formal promises) or by virtue of benefits a subject may receive under the laws of the subject’s state or country.

In contrast to these Lockean political obligations of obedience, there are also political obligations of participation. These are not moral duties to obey the laws of the state but rather, as Michael...

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© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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Esquith, S.L. (2011). Political Obligation. In: Chatterjee, D.K. (eds) Encyclopedia of Global Justice. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9160-5_677

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