Examples and Cooperation

George Klosko

in Political Obligations

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199256204
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602351 | DOI:
Examples and Cooperation

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Continues the analysis of focus group responses discussed in Ch. 9. It is argued that the way different people respond to examples of the kind commonly employed in contemporary moral and political argument provides some test of the examples' persuasiveness. The subject of investigation in this chapter is responses to a series of vignettes concerning connections between different forms of cooperative activity and the generation of obligations. In particular, is a strong sense of cooperation necessary to generate obligations? Subjects were given vignettes that concerned cooperative schemes that provide excludable benefits, essential public goods, and trivial public goods, respectively. Their responses indicate strong connections between the generation of obligations and the nature of specific benefits provided, especially their weight or importance. Receipt of important benefits was viewed as generating obligations, even without a strong sense of cooperation. Receipt of benefits from activity characterized by a strong sense of cooperation was viewed as not establishing obligations, if benefits produced were not of significant importance.

Keywords: cooperative activity; fairness; focus groups; obligations; Nozick; principle of fairness; Simmons

Chapter.  8879 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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