Political obligation and the particularity problem

Ratio 22 (3):322-337 (2009)
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Abstract

Natural duty theorists of political obligation try to base a moral duty to obey the law on some natural duty, such as the duty to promote justice. Their critics say they confront an insurmountable obstacle in the particularity problem: Since natural duties do not bind us to some persons and institutions more strongly than to others, they cannot support a duty to one particular state or society. I solve the particularity problem, by developing a version of the political obligation thesis, giving a natural duty argument for it and showing that the particularity problem does not arise for the argument. I reply to some likely objections to my view.

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Peter Markie
University of Missouri, Columbia

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