Of the Source of Allegiance

Jonathan Harrison

in Hume's Theory of Justice

Published in print January 1980 | ISBN: 9780198246190
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680946 | DOI:
Of the Source of Allegiance

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This chapter discusses the following: (1) Hume's arguments against the social contract theory are conclusive. (2) By ‘sources of allegiance’, does Hume mean ‘grounds of our duty of allegiance’ or ‘causes of our approval of allegiance’? (3) Whether grafted plants take root by themselves. (4) Meaning of the statement that men are born free and equal and whether it is true. Freedom. (5) Hume's view that ‘free’ and ‘equal’ are conventional notions implies that there is, in these senses, nothing much wrong with inequality and nothing right with freedom. (6) Though a utilitarian account of our duty of allegiance is independent of anthropological speculation about the origin of governments, social contract theory is not. (7) Utilitarian reflections on the features that make different kinds of government desirable.

Keywords: social contract; allegiance; freedom; inequality; utilitarianism; government

Chapter.  6192 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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