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By Margaret Gilbert

Margaret Gilbert deals an incisive new method of a vintage challenge of political philosophy: whilst and why should still I do what the legislations tells me to do? Do i've got distinctive tasks to comply to the legislation of my very own state and if that is so, why? In what experience, if any, needs to I struggle in wars during which my kingdom is engaged, if ordered to take action, or endure the penalty for legislation breaking--including the loss of life penalty? Gilbert's available ebook bargains a provocative and compelling case in prefer of electorate' tasks to the nation, whereas studying how those might be squared with self-interest and different competing concerns.

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Additional resources for A Theory of Political Obligation: Membership, Commitment, and the Bonds of Society

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His rule, that is, is one of the political institutions of the society in question. The argument will have shown that residents of this kind, at least, are obligated to comply with the orders of the imperator insofar as he is indeed their ruler. In discussing the membership problem one might, less plausibly, operate with a broad notion of membership in a political society that was more or less equivalent to that of residence in the territory of an imperator. One would then ask whether membership in this broad sense was itself a ground of obligation.

That depends, of course, on precisely what political obligations are understood to be. 46 Singer (1973: 4–5): ‘That is all I shall say about the meaning of ‘‘morality’’. If the reader disagrees, or is puzzled by what I have said, he will probably do better to read on. . ’ 47 I understand that there are languages that have no exact equivalents of this term, something that is not surprising given the range of things that the English term has come to cover. It is to be hoped that, nonetheless, the discussion will be pertinent to the concerns of those whose main language is other than English.

28 Hart distinguishes obligations from duties. Obligations as opposed to duties arise only on the basis of transactions or relationships between particular people. One properly speaks of an obligation to keep a promise; one speaks rather of a duty to rescue a stranger. One has an obligation to do what one agreed to do, but a duty to support just institutions in general. The suggestion that we think of obligation proper along the lines Hart proposed has a long history. Thus, in his Treatise on Obligation, first published in 1791, the great French jurist Robert Joseph Pothier distinguished between two senses of the term ‘obligation’.

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