First published in 1990. The individual’s obligation to obey the law, the state and the government is a fundamental part of contemporary political theory. The contributors to this volume, drawn from a variety of disciplines including philosophy, political science and law, take a fresh look at the dilemmas of political obligation. They discuss the extent to which we should allow the need for conformity to override individual liberties, and ask whether individualism is indeed feasible without a highly developed sense of the ‘public interest’ or the ‘common good‘. The contrast between individualism and communitarianism is examined throughout the book. The contributors also look at the various means through which the state can coerce or persuade the individual to be obedient.
The emphasis throughout this collection is on the substantive problems themselves, rather than on the way these issues have been addressed in the history of political thought. The book offers a number of different perspectives on political obligation, and will be valuable to students of moral, political, social and legal philosophy.
Table of Contents
Preface; 1. Political Obligation and the Public Interest A. J. M. Milne 2. The Commitment to the Common Good Gerald E. Gaus 3. Political Obligation: Individualism and Communitarianism John Charvet 4. Consent and Community Leslie Green 5. Obligation: Societal, Political, and Legal Tom Campbell 6. The Moral Obligation to Obey the Law Paul Harris 7. The Character of Political Allegiance in a System of Rights Rex Martin 8. State Authority and Legitimation Kai Nielsen; Index
Edited by Paul Harris