Ratio Juris 30 (4):433-450 (2017)

Most democratic states tolerate, to various extents, conscientious objection. The same states tend not to tolerate acts of civil disobedience and what they perceive as selective conscientious objection. In this paper it is claimed that the dichotomy between civil disobedience and conscientious objection is often misguided; that the existence of a “civic conscience” makes it impossible to differentiate between conscientious objection and civil disobedience; and that there is no such thing as “selective” conscientious objection—or that classifying an objection as “selective” has no significant moral or practical implications. These claims are supported by a preliminary, more general argument according to which conscientious objection is and should be tolerated because the objector lacks the ability to choose his conscience and to decide whether to act upon it. The lack-of-choice argument, it is claimed, applies equally to all types of conscientious objection, including those that are mistakenly called “selective” objection. It also applies to one type of civil disobedience. As a result, if a state is willing to tolerate non-selective conscientious objection, it may and at times must also tolerate selective conscientious objection and civil disobedience and to a similar degree.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/raju.12184
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,107
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Philosophy 63 (243):119-122.
Taking Rights Seriously.Ronald Dworkin - 1979 - Ethics 90 (1):121-130.
Taking Rights Seriously.Thomas D. Perry - 1977 - Ethics 88 (1):80-86.

View all 23 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Selective Conscientious Objection.Mark Anderson & William O’Meara - 1988 - Philosophy Research Archives 14 (9999):1-19.
False Convictions and True Conscience.Candice Delmas - 2015 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 35 (2):403-425.
Why Liberal States Must Accommodate Tax Resistors.Jason Brennan - forthcoming - Public Affairs Quarterly.
Civil Disobedience and Conscientious Objection.Maeve Cooke & Danielle Petherbridge - 2016 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 42 (10):953-957.
Objecting Morally.C. A. J. Coady - 1997 - The Journal of Ethics 1 (4):375-397.
When Should Conscientious Objection Be Accepted.Morten Magelssen - 2012 - Journal of Medical Ethics 38 (1):18-21.


Added to PP index

Total views
15 ( #678,400 of 2,454,643 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,377 of 2,454,643 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes