Contemporary debates on obedience and consent, such as those between Thomas Senor and A. John Simmons, suggest that either political obligation must exist as a concept or there must be natural duty of justice accessible to us through reason. Without one or the other, de facto political institutions would lack the requisite moral framework to engage in legitimate coercion. This essay suggests that both are unnecessary in order to provide a conceptual framework in which obedience to coercive political (...) institutions can be understood. By providing a novel reading of Hobbes’s Leviathan, this article argues that both political obligation and a natural duty to justice are unnecessary to ground the ability of political institutions to engage in legitimate coercion. This essay takes issue with common readings of Hobbes which assume consent is necessary to generate obedience on the part of citizens, and furthermore that political obligation is critical for the success of political institutions. While the failure of the traditional Hobbesian narrative of a consenting individual would seem to suggest the Leviathan is indefensible as a project, this paper argues that the right of war in the state of nature was more central for Hob- bes’s understanding of political institutions than obligation. Furthermore, Hobbes provides an adequate defense of political institutions even if his arguments about consent, obligation and punishment are only rhetorical. In this way Hobbesian law is best understood as a set of practical requirements to avoid war, and not as moral requirements that individuals are bound to comply with. Thus Hobbesian political institutions are not vulnerable to contemporary philosophical anarchist criticisms about political obligation and political institutions as such. To develop this reading, I focus primarily on the Leviathan, including interpretations by Skinner, Kateb, Flathman, and Oakeshott. Ultimately, this argument provides insight into contem- porary political institutions of the state, citizenship, criminality, and the law in a world where political obligation has not been adequately justified. (shrink)
Obedience: a simple term. Stanley Milgram, the famous experimental social psychologist, shocked the world with theory about it. Another man, Pol Pot, the infamous leader of the Khmer Rouge, showed how far the desire for obedience could go in human societies. Milgram conducted his experiments in the controlled environment of the US psychology laboratory of the 1960s. Pol Pot experimented with Utopia in the totalitarian Kampuchea of the 1970s. In this article, we discuss the process through which the (...) Khmer Rouge regime created an army of unquestioningly obedient soldiers – including child soldiers. Based on these two cases, we advance a framework on how obedience can be grown or countered. (shrink)
Why did the Lord Justices make strong representation against Berkeley? According to Joseph Stock, Berkeley's first biographer "Lord Galway [a Lord Justice in 1716] having heard of those sermons, published in 1712 as Passive Obedience represented Berkeley as a Jacobite, and hence unworthy of the living of St. Paul's. From the beginning, Passive Obedience was rumored to be politically heterodox...
This article examines how business students route themselves through the process of cognitive moral development (CMD) to arrive at a more autonomous level of CMD when there is an impetus to do so. In this study, two groups were given Rest’s Defining Issues Test; half the test 1 week and half three weeks later. In between, one group viewed a film of Milgram’s obedience study as a stimulus towards a more autonomous level of CMD. The results of the analysis (...) indicate that viewing the Milgram study produced a positive response regarding subjects’ level of autonomous CMD. However, the response was not uniform across the subject pool. Females showed a greater consistent significant positive response to viewing Milgram while male subjects varied their response contingent upon their functional area of study. While subjects’ functional area of study alone made little difference in the results, when taken in conjunction with gender, significant differences were found between groups. Thus, researchers should take care when investigating differences between subjects’ area of study since gender differences may be present even within an apparently homogenous population-like business students. (shrink)
The Moral Limits of Law analyzes the related debates concerning the moral obligation to obey the law, conscientious citizenship, and state legitimacy. Modern societies are drawn in a tension between the centripetal pull of the local and the centrifugal stress of the global. Boundaries that once appeared permanent are now permeable: transnational legal, economic, and trade institutions increasingly erode the autonomy of states. Nonetheless transnational principles are still typically effected through state law. For law's subjects, this tension brings into focus (...) the interaction of legal and moral obligations and the legitimacy of state authority. This volume incorporates a comprehensive critical analysis of the methodology and substance of the debates in recent legal, political, and moral philosophy, regarding political obligation and the moral obligation to obey the law. The author argues that traditional accounts of political obligation that assume a bounded conception of the polity are no longer tenable. Higgins therefore presents an original theory of the conscientious agent's attitude towards law that accommodates the contemporary social tension between local and global obligations. (shrink)
��Three concepts—authority, obedience and obligation—are central to understanding law and political institutions. The three are also involved in the legitimation of the state: an apology for the state has to make a normative case for the state’s authority, for its right to command obedience, and for the citizen’s obligation to obey the state’s commands. Recent discussions manifest a cumulative scepticism about the apologist’s task. Getting clear about the three concepts is, of..
Plato's Crito is not a treatise on obedience to the law, but a dialogue whose interpretation is not determined by its surface meaning. The initial dream is not mere ornamentation; rather it points to the range of possibilities in Socrates' situation. The speeches of the Laws, with which the dialogue closes, are not intended to be philosophically cogent, since they are inconsistent with the principles laid out in the preceding conversation between Socrates and Crito. The arguments of the Laws (...) are rather directed towards Crito, Socrates' decent and unphilosophic friend. (shrink)
Robert Adams, in Finite and Infinite Goods: A Framework for Ethics, suggests a moral constraint on our obedience to God's commands: if a purportedly divine command seems abhorrently evil, then we should infer that it is not really God so commanding. I suggest that in light of his commitments to God as the standard of goodness, to the transcendence of God, and to a critical stance towards ethics, Adams should be willing to consider the possibility of a good God (...) commanding us to do something that seems abhorrently evil to us, but really is good according to His transcendent goodness. I suggest that the ought-to-is moral constraint that Adams advocates is only appropriate when we are not certain that it is God giving the command, and that an is-to-ought constraint based on psychological certainty should be the ultimate constraint on our obedience to purportedly divine commands. This constraint advocates that if one is certain upon reflection that a command is from God, then one should obey that command, regardless of how evil it seems. After responding to several objections to this psychological constraint, I offer my own qualification, according to which it is appropriate to disobey a command that one is certain is from God if one cannot conceive that the command is good. Finally, I offer some reason to think that, contrary to Adams's assertions, the project of considering how to react to a purportedly divine command that also seems abhorrently evil is worth both philosophic and spiritual energy. (shrink)
Abstract. The analysis of legal statements that are made from an "internal point of view" must distinguish statements where legal obedience is accepted from statements where legal obedience is only assumed. Statements that are based on accepted obedience supply reasons for action, but statements where obedience is merely assumed can never provide reasons for action. It is argued in this paper that John Searle neglects this distinction. Searle claims that a statement from the internal point of (...) view provides the speaker with reasons for actions that are "self-sufficient" in the sense that they are independent of the speaker's beliefs and desires. This claim is mistaken. A statement that is based on assumed obedience is self-sufficient, but does not give reasons for action. A statement that is based on accepted obedience gives reasons for action, but these reasons are not self-sufficient. (shrink)
As Mark Murphy has recently shown, standard justifications of universal divine authority are insufficient.  By “divine authority” I shall mean the doctrine that obedience is morally owed to God by all. God would not give us a command that we did not have a reason to act in accordance with, Murphy argues, but it does not follow that we would be obliged, much less morally obliged, to have the fact of God’s having commanded the action be among our (...) practical reasons for the action. We might, for instance, think that what God has commanded us is prudentially the best policy for us or that it is the best possible evidence for what is on independent grounds morally obligatory. (shrink)
The tension between Kant’s egalitarian conception of persons as ends in themselves and his rejection of the right of revolution has been widely discussed. The crucial issue is more fundamental: Is Kant’s defense of absolute obedience consistent with his own principle of legitimate law, that legitimate law is compatible with the Categorical Imperative? Resolving this apparent inconsistency resolves the subsidiary inconsistencies that have been debated in the literature. I argue that Kant’s legal principles contain two distinct grounds of obligation (...) to obey political authority. One lies in his metaphysical principles of law, according to which there is only a duty to obey legitimate law or fully legitimate authorities. Another lies in his moral-pragmatic principles. He believes that membership in the state helps improve one’s character by counter-balancing one’s immoral inclinations. This is his ultimate ground for obedience to de facto, imperfectly legitimate states. On this ground, the duty to obey an actual state is conditional. Kant’s strong statements about the duty to obey actual states is explained by the ease with which he thinks the relevant condition is met by extant states. The apparent ambiguities in his discussion of obedience point to some important philosophical and historical shortcomings of his analysis of the division of govemmental powers and of judicial competence which hamper his analysis of the duty to obey the state. (shrink)
Jehovah's Witnesses are students of the Bible. They refuse transfusions out of obedience to the scriptural directive to abstain and keep from blood. Dr Muramoto disagrees with the Witnesses' religious beliefs in this regard. Despite this basic disagreement over the meaning of Biblical texts, Muramoto flouts the religious basis for the Witnesses' position. His proposed policy change about accepting transfusions in private not only conflicts with the Witnesses' fundamental beliefs but it promotes hypocrisy. In addition, Muramoto's arguments about pressure (...) to conform and coerced disclosure of private information misrepresent the beliefs and practices of Jehovah's Witnesses and ignore the element of individual conscience. In short, Muramoto resorts to distortion and uncorroborated assertions in his effort to portray a matter of religious faith as a matter of medical ethical debate. (shrink)
Rather than eliciting behavioral expectations of individuals for an appreciation of organizational ethics, we are focusing on the organization itself and the manner in which distinctive organizational structures assume their own respective behavioral expectations. The hierarchical organizational structure emphasizes obedience while the participative organizational structure emphasizes cooperation. Imposing the ethical virtues of one organizational structure onto another leads to conflict, and that conflict is reflective of a basic injustice which is (indirectly) organizational in cause but (directly) personal in effect. (...) This more conceptual argument is readily identified in the difficulties encountered by pastoral ministers in Catholic hospitals, especially by women chaplains. (shrink)
This paper reports a phenomenological sub-study of a larger project investigating the way Hong Kong Chinese staff tackled their own ethical dilemmas at work. A special analysis was conducted of eight dilemma cases arising from a request by a boss or superiorauthority to do something regarded as ethically wrong. In reports of most such cases, staff expressed feelings of contractual orinterpersonally based obligation to obey. They sought to save face and preserve harmony in their relationship with authority by choosingbetween “little (...) potato” obedience, token obedience, and undercover disobedience. Only where no such obligation existed was face inrelation to authority unimportant, and open disobedience chosen. In Kohlbergian terms, ethical reasoning at the conventional stages (three and four) predominated in dilemmas of obedience. Findings imply that if corruption were to originate at the top, codes of conduct recently introduced into Hong Kong may be of limited effect in stalling it. (shrink)
Thomas Hobbes’s political theory contains conceptual theses on law, including an analysis of the way legal requirements affect practical reasoning. However, Hobbes’ account of law and the structure of reasons for political obedience is extremely ambiguous. In this paper, I show that Hobbes develops not one but two different accounts. Also, I argue that the two theories are in tension, something that Hobbes himself seems to recognize to some extent.
Considerable scholarship over the last dozen years has greatly increased our understanding of Apology and Crito. However, the knottiest problem between these dialogues--the frequently noted apparent contradiction between Apology 29c-30c and Crito 51b-c, between Socrates’ pledge to disobey a court order to give up philosophy and his argument that legal authority absolutely obligates a citizen to obedience--is far from being resolved. In the end I argue that this contradiction is unresolved, despite numerous ingenious attempts to eliminate it, because it (...) is rooted in deep inconsistencies in Socrates’ principles and character. In the course of reaching a conclusion that most scholars have striven to avoid I review and dispute the major strategies on resolving the contradiction: that it is only apparent, because one of the views is not (unqualifiedly) Socrates’ or a sophisticated analysis of the rhetorical purposes of the dialogues eliminates any contradiction. (shrink)
In this paper I give an account and defence of the thought and practice associated with the notion of obedience in religious ethics, especially in reply to the claim that obedience is necessarily unconscientious. First, I argue that it is conscientious to give weight to commands if they are identifiable as pieces of authoritative advice, or, as theists commonly believe, if they have intrinsic moral force. Second, I argue that a theist's strictly moral reasons for fulfilling obligations are (...) not replaced but reinforced by reasons arising out of a personal relationship with God. Anyone who loves God will want to please God, to act in accordance with His teaching and to avoid His punishment, and theists can do these things by respecting existing moral reasons for action. Third, I show how it can be valuable that people submit to God in further ways, by doing what God commends, and by committing themselves to obeying divine commands which would not otherwise be addressed to them. Finally, I argue that subordinating oneself to God's will is itself a partial attainment of the spiritual ideal of mystical union with God. (shrink)
There are important synergies for the next generation of ethical leaders based on the alignment of modified or adjusted mental models. This entails a synergistic application of moral imagination through collaborative input and critique, rather than "me too" obedience. In this article, we will analyze the Milgram results using frameworks relating to mental models (Werhane et al., Profitable partnerships for poverty alleviation, 2009), as well as work by Moberg on "ethics blind spots'' (Organizational Studies 27(3): 413-428, 2006), and by (...) Bazerman and Chugh on "bounded awareness" (Harvard Business Review, 2006; Mind & Society 6: 1-18, 2007) Using these constructs to examine the Milgram experiment, we will argue that the ways in which the experiments are framed, the presence of an authority figure, the appeal to the authority of science, and the situation in which the naïve participant finds herself or himself, all create a bounded awareness, a narrow blind spot that encourages a climate for obedience, brackets out the opportunity to ask the moral question: "Am I hurting another fellow human being?" and may preclude the subject from utilizing moral imagination to opt out of the experiment. We will conclude that these forms of almost blind obedience to authority are correctable, but with difficulty. We will argue that linking the modification of mental models to an unbinding of awareness represents an important synergistic relationship and one that can build effectively on the lessons learned from our experience with moral imagination. (shrink)
Daly, Brendan About a month before my ordination as a priest on 7 May 1977, my diocesan bishop asked me to come and see him at his office. He said after my ordination I was going to be appointed to Mairehau parish as an assistant priest. Two weeks later I was making my pre-ordination retreat and the bishop arrived to see me. He was embarrassed and said 'We have a problem. One parish priest won't take the assistant priest that I (...) want to give him, and another assistant priest won't go where he is appointed, so the end result is that you are now going to Addington parish. Is that okay?' I replied 'Yes.' Both parishes were in Christchurch city, and I did not know either parish priest personally, so it really did not matter at all. However, two weeks later at my ordination ceremony, it came time for the promise of obedience. I knelt down before the bishop who asked me did 'I promise him and his successors obedience and respect.' At the same time as he said this I was conscious of the thought going through my mind, 'what does it all mean anyway?'. (shrink)
A través de este artículo se llegará a la conclusión de que la obediencia es una expresión de la dialéctica entre la encarnación de Cristo y su kenosis, superando la provisionalidad de las realidades terrenas y consagrando a Dios la facultad de disponer de la propia vida. Pero este caminar entre la vida y la muerte, encuentra su punto culminante en el misterio pascual de Jesucristo, el cual contribuye a la glorificación de Dios en el hombre, haciendo de la experiencia (...) de Dios en Jesucristo, el proyecto fundamental de la vida. El hombre participa de este misterio mediante la contemplación y lo extiende hacia fuera gracias a la predicación. Se pondrá así de relieve la dimensión pneumatológica y eclesial de la obediencia, que parte de la imagen de un hombre apasionado y entusiasta del sueño de Dios sobre la humanidad, revelado y realizado en Jesús, por la fuerza del Espíritu de amor. Through this article you will come to the conclusion that obedience is an expression of the dialectic between the incarnation of Christ and his ‘kenosis’, surpassing the impermanence of earthly realities and consecrating to God the faculty to dispose of one´s own live. But this journey between life and death, finds its culmination in the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, which contributes to the glorification of God in man, making the experience of God in Jesus Christ, the fundamental project of life. The Man participates in this mystery, through contemplation, and extends it out through the preaching. In this way, it will express the pneumatologic and ecclesial dimension of obedience, which part of the image of a passionate and enthusiastic man of God's dream for humanity, revealed and realized in Jesus, by the power of the Spirit of love. (shrink)
This paper is a critical study of Christians among the Virtues: Theological Conversations with Ancient and Modern Ethics by Stanley Hauerwas and Charles Pinches. It has four parts. First, I consider several possible responses to G. E. M. Anscombe’s famous challenge to modern moral philosophy in order to provide a framework in which the project of Hauerwas and Pinches can be located. Next I criticize their attempt to eliminate the realm of obligation from morality. Then I examine their treatment of (...) Martha Nussbaum’s work onAristotle in order to explore differences between secular and Christian appropriations of Aristotle. Finally, I discuss their views on the virtue of obedience and criticize their arguments against rival Kantian and divine command views. (shrink)
Do citizens have an obligation to obey the law? This book differs from standard approaches by shifting from the language of obedience (orders) to that of deference (normative judgments). The popular view that law claims authority but does not have it is here reversed on both counts: Law does not claim authority but has it. Though the focus is on political obligation, the author approaches that issue indirectly by first developing a more general account of when deference is due (...) to the view of others. Two standard practices that political theorists often consider in exploring the question of political obligation - fair-play and promise-keeping - can themselves be seen as examples of a duty of deference. In this respect the book defends a more general theory of ethics whose scope extends beyond the question of political obligation to questions of duty in the case of law, promises, fair play and friendship. (shrink)