What is political about political obligation? A neglected lesson from consent theory

Much of the debate concerning political obligation deals with the question of which, if any, moral principles could make obedience to the directives of the government a matter of obligation. What makes political obligation political has not received attention in the literature on the topic. In this article I argue that the lack of systematic reflection on what makes political obligation political is responsible for the failure of a number of influential theories of political obligation. I demonstrate this failure using the consent theory of political obligation as my major example. I conclude my analysis by formulating some positive conditions that a successful principle of political obligation should satisfy.
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DOI 10.1080/13698230.2012.659510
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Joel Feinberg (1987). Harm to Others. Philosophical Review 96 (2):295-298.

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