Why should people obey the state philosophy essay
Consent theory of political obligation
The person is obeying out of fear of what will happen to him if he gets caught. Rival views of the manner in which political obligation functions in a person's deliberation reject the exclusionary element of Raz's account of the duty to obey the law, arguing that political obligations are simply weighty moral reasons that are balanced against all of the other reasons a person has to perform or not perform a given act Perry As such, it provides a person with a categorical reason for action, one that does not depend on her inclinations or self-interest. One of the earliest proffered grounds is the Divine Right Theory. But why think that a promise extracted at gunpoint generates any reason to do that which one promised, or that a voluntary agreement to torture babies generates a genuine albeit not conclusive obligation to do so? With the advent of Christianity, however, that possibility had to be taken seriously. Others respond to Simmons' criticism by denying that fair-play obligations must be incurred voluntarily Arneson ; Klosko , 39— When your assigned day arrives, are you obligated to take a turn? Walker holds that one may have an obligation of gratitude not only to other persons but also to institutions, including the state or polity; but critics such as Simmons disagree , pp. In the end, he decides he should not, mainly because he feels it would involve breaking the commitments and agreements he has made with his fellow citizens and the city that has done so much to nurture and shape him. This challenge is made especially difficult by the powerful objections that Simmons and other a posteriori anarchists have brought against the existing theories of political obligation. It is one thing to know that we should give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's, for example, and quite another to know what exactly is Caesar's due. More often philosophers working in this vein sought to clarify what was at issue in the assertion or denial of political obligations, or duties to obey the law. Whatever its details, many natural duty theorists also argue that the conception of the person that grounds their accounts of political obligation also limits the scope of legitimate law. So understood, a theory of political obligation will tell us nothing about the authority a state enjoys over non-members; for example, whether and why short-term visitors residing on its territory have a duty to obey its laws.
Exactly how much Locke differs from Hobbes in his conclusions is a matter of scholarly dispute, but there is no doubt that he puts the same concepts to work for what seem to be more limited ends.
But does such an obligation exist or obtain in any general or widespread sense? As Wolff and other philosophical anarchists have argued, the fact that many people feel a sense of identity with and obligation to their countries does not mean that they really have such an obligation; nor need one be a philosophical anarchist to share this conclusion.
As for the argument that compliance rather than cooperation is all that is necessary to provide the benefits ordinarily associated with political societies, it seems likely to do no more than renew controversies about the nature of such societies and the viability of philosophical anarchism.
If only express or explicit statements of agreement or commitment count as genuine consent, then it appears that relatively few people have consented to obey the laws of their country; but if tacit or implied consent is allowed, the concept of consent may be stretched too far.
It is one thing to know that we should give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's, for example, and quite another to know what exactly is Caesar's due.
Nor is every obligation of equal force. In light of these facts, even those who make a good faith effort to discern what justice requires of them in their interaction with others will fail to reach a consensus. Every citizen has an obligation of gratitude not to act in ways that are contrary to the state's interests.
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