"Under what conditions are obedience and disobedience required or justified? To what or whom is obedience or disobedience owed? What are the differences between authority and power and between legitimate and illegitimate government? What is the relationship between having an obligation and having freedom to act? What are the similarities and differences among political, legal, and moral obligations?..."
Originally published in 1972, Professor Flathman discusses these crucial issues in political theory in a lucid and stimulating argument. Though mainly concerned to develop his own modified utilitarian standing point he also reviews both the classical and modern literature from Plato and Hobbes to Hare and Rawls. The treatment is philosophical but it is frequently related to practical issues of civil obedience and disobedience and in particular focuses on the relation between law, obligation and social change.
Introduction. 1. The Study of Language and the Study of Politics 2. Obligation and Ideals 3. Obligation and Rules 4. The Social Bases of Obligation Rules 5. Obligation, Stability, and Change: Praise, Blame, and Disinclination 6. Obligation, Political Freedom, and Coercion 7. Obligation, Consent, and Utility 8. The Utility of Obligation. Bibliography. Index.