Philosophy and Geography 4 (1):97 – 107 (2001)

Jennifer Welchman
University of Alberta
According to current definitions of civil disobedience, drawn from the work of John Rawls and Carl Cohen, eco-saboteurs are not civil disobedients because their disobedience is not a form of address and/or does not appeal to the public's sense of justice or human welfare. But this definition also excludes disobedience by a wide range of groups, from labor activists to hunt saboteurs, either because they are obstructionist or because they address moral concerns other than justice or the public weal. However earlier definitions of civil disobedience were not so narrow. I review the development of the current definition and the circumstances of its acceptance. I argue that the circumstances which help to explain the attractiveness of the Rawls/Cohen formulations in the 1970s are no longer applicable and that the question of civil disobedience should be revisited. I suggest a wider definition according to which at least some types of eco-sabotage would be civil disobedience.
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DOI 10.1080/10903770124815
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References found in this work BETA

On Civil Disobedience.Hugo A. Bedau - 1961 - Journal of Philosophy 58 (21):653-665.
Moral Judgment, Historical Reality, and Civil Disobedience.David Lyons - 1996 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 27 (1):31-49.
The Justifiability of Violent Civil Disobedience.John Morreall - 1976 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 6 (1):35 - 47.

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Citations of this work BETA

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Why Not Uncivil Disobedience?William E. Scheuerman - 2019 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-20.

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Ecosabotage and Civil Disobedience.Michael Martin - 1990 - Environmental Ethics 12 (4):291-310.


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