Protest Petitions

Journal of Applied Philosophy 1 (2):205-212 (1984)
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Abstract

ABSTRACT This paper is concerned with the question of whether an individual has a moral obligation to sign a protest petition which has been initiated on moral grounds. It is argued that there is such an obligation when the petition represents a viewpoint with which one broadly agrees. This is a general dury which may lapse with changed circumstances or which may be redeemed by some alternative action. It is argued that the duty to initiate a protest petition is, on the other hand, supererogatory as far as an individual is concerned, but may be a duty for a community or group. Finally it is argued that protest petitions are essentially protests, not against evil deeds as such, but against evil deeds done in one's own name, and are therefore a vital aspect of democracy.

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Avishai Margalit
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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