Must I Accept Prosecution for Civil Disobedience?

Philosophical Quarterly 70 (279):410-418 (2020)
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Piero Moraro argues that people who engage in civil disobedience do not have a pro tanto reason to accept punishment for breaking the law, although they do have a duty to undergo prosecution. This is because they have a duty to answer for their actions, and the state serves as an agent of the people by calling the lawbreaker to answer via prosecution. I argue that Moraro does not go far enough. Someone who engages in civil disobedience does not even have to show up for the trial, provided that they answer for their actions adequately via some other means. This is because sometimes states are not agents of the people who can call lawbreakers to account, and even those states which are agents cannot demand that lawbreakers answer for their crimes in the form of a trial.



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Daniel Weltman
Ashoka University

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References found in this work

Recent Theories of Civil Disobedience: An Anti‐Legal Turn?William E. Scheuerman - 2015 - Journal of Political Philosophy 23 (4):427-449.
On (Not) Accepting the Punishment for Civil Disobedience.Piero Moraro - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (272):503-520.
Penalizing Public Disobedience.Kimberley Brownlee - 2008 - Ethics 118 (4):711-716.
Reclaiming the Revolutionary Spirit.William Smith - 2010 - European Journal of Political Theory 9 (2):149-166.

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