Multiple Principles of Political Obligation

George Klosko

in Political Obligations

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199256204
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602351 | DOI:
Multiple Principles of Political Obligation

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Scholars who doubt the existence of general political obligations typically criticize and reject theories of obligation on the basis of individual moral principles, for example, consent, fairness, or a natural duty of justice. A stronger position can result from combining different principles in a single theory. This chapter develops a multi-principle theory of political obligation, on the basis of the principle of fairness, a natural duty of justice, and what I call the ‘common good’ principle. The three principles interact in three main ways: ‘cumulation’, combining the separate state services that different principles cover; ‘mutual support’, combining the force of different principles in regard to the same state services; and simple overlap. The result is a theory that can satisfy the main criteria of a theory of political obligation.

Keywords: common good; fairness; generality; political obligation; multiple principles; natural duties; particularity

Chapter.  10382 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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