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Moral Principles and Political Obligations / Edition 1

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Overview

Outlining the major competing theories in the history of political and moral philosophy--from Locke and Hume through Hart, Rawls, and Nozick--John Simmons attempts to understand and solve the ancient problem of political obligation. Under what conditions and for what reasons (if any), he asks, are we morally bound to obey the law and support the political institutions of our countries?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This devastating book asks why citizens should feel obligated to participate in the political order and be responsive to its demands. Simmons lines up theorists like targets and bops one after another. 'Fair Play', 'Tacit Consent', 'Natural Duty of Justice' are all in trouble, whether offered by Rawls or Nozick or anyone else. That does not mean that Virginia Professor Simmons opts for the jungle; he simply has left few grounds for political obligations and suggests that somehow people will have to salvage some moral obligations instead. An astute work of demythologization and demolition."--The Christian Century

"(A) major contribution to political philosophy. . . . Everyone who is interested in political theory will gain much from this study."--Library Journal

The Christian Century
This devastating book asks why citizens should feel obligated to participate in the political order and be responsive to its demands. Simmons lines up theorists like targets and bops one after another. 'Fair Play', 'Tacit Consent', 'Natural Duty of Justice' are all in trouble, whether offered by Rawls or Nozick or anyone else. That does not mean that Virginia Professor Simmons opts for the jungle; he simply has left few grounds for political obligations and suggests that somehow people will have to salvage some moral obligations instead. An astute work of demythologization and demolition.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691020198
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1981
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 913,170
  • Product dimensions: 5.54 (w) x 8.49 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface vii
Introduction 3
Chapter I. Obligations 7
I.i. Obligations and Final Judgments 7
I.ii. Obligation and Duty 11
I.iii. Positional Duties and Moral Requirements 16
I.iv. "Prima Facie" Requirements 24
Chapter II. The Problem of Political Obligation 29
II.i. The Limits of the Investigation 29
II.ii. Political Obligation and Political Language 38
II.iii. Utilitarianism and Political Obligation 45
II.iv. The Standards of Success 54
Chapter III. The Consent Tradition 57
III.i. Consent Theory 57
III.ii. The Major Assumptions 61
III.iii. Majority Consent 71
Chapter IV. The Argument from Tacit Consent 75
IV.i. Consent Defined 75
IV.ii. Tacit Consent 79
IV.iii. Locke and the Failure of Tacit Consent 83
IV.iv. Tacit Consent and Residence 95
Chapter V. The Principle of Fair Play 101
V.i. Hart and Rawls on Fair Play 101
V.ii. Fair Play and Justice 109
V.iii. Fair Play and Political Obligation 114
V.iv. Nozick's Arguments 118
V.v. The Principle in Political Communities 136
Chapter VI. The Natural Duty of Justice 143
VI.i. Rawls on Political Obligation 143
VI.ii. When Institutions "Apply to Us" 147
VI.iii. Justice and Political Bonds 152
Chapter VII. Gratitude 157
VII.i. The Benefits of Government 157
VII.ii. Debts of Gratitude 163
VII.iii. Gratitude as a Ground of Political Obligation 183
Chapter VIII. Concluding Remarks 191
VIII.i. Political Obligation and Disobedience 191
VIII.ii. Political Obligation and Legitimacy 195
Notes 202
Bibliography 219
Index 229
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