Defining civil disobedience

Inquiry 21 (1-4):249 – 269 (1978)
Though all of the principal features of Rawls's definition of civil disobedience are in varying degrees unacceptable, one of these consists of the fertile but unargued suggestion that civil disobedience is a mode of address. The first half of the paper tests this by construing civil disobedience as a vehicle of non?natural meaning (but not necessarily of linguistic non?natural meaning) and so as operating the Gricean mechanism of a hierarchy of intentions and beliefs. This feature is absent from other definitions but is essential if other kinds of conscientious illegality are to be contrasted. In the second half a definition is arrived at through rejections or modifications of the other Rawlsian conditions and by reference to some recent accounts of force and violence. It is hoped that the definition has the double advantage of being broadly congruent with our intuitions and of supplying a theoretical underpinning for what it includes and excludes
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/00201747808601843
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,831
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
H. P. Grice (1957). Meaning. Philosophical Review 66 (3):377-388.
H. P. Grice (1969). Utterer's Meaning and Intention. Philosophical Review 78 (2):147-177.
Hugo A. Bedau (1961). On Civil Disobedience. Journal of Philosophy 58 (21):653-665.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

60 ( #54,941 of 1,724,852 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #110,372 of 1,724,852 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.