The objective of the paper is to analyze whether that the pharmaceutical companies producing HIV drugs have moral obligation(s) towards the HIV victims in developing countries who don‟t have access to get drug to reduce their risks. The primary assessment is that the pharmaceutical companies have minimum moral obligation(s) to the HIV patients especially in developing countries. It is because they are human beings and hence they are the subject of moral considerations. The paper argues that from the (...) sense of benevolence, there may be an obligation that will tend pharmaceutical companies to make an opportunity of the concerned HIV patients of developing countries to get drugs. The discussion will be made from the utilitarian point of view. Though it is assumed that, utilitarianism is too demanding, I will show that the too demanding ness of utilitarianism can be minimized and it will not be contradictory with the main theme of utilitarian morality. In this respect the counter examples and arguments will also be analyzed to make the claim stronger. The paper also argues that though the primary aim of the pharmaceutical companies is to make money, the actions that might be taken by the pharmaceutical companies for the welfare of HIV victims will not hamper them in making money for which they are deployed. (shrink)
Contemporary debates on obedience and consent, such as those between Thomas Senor and A. John Simmons, suggest that either political obligation must exist as a concept or there must be natural duty of justice accessible to us through reason. Without one or the other, de facto political institutions would lack the requisite moral framework to engage in legitimate coercion. This essay suggests that both are unnecessary in order to provide a conceptual framework in which obedience to coercive political institutions (...) can be understood. By providing a novel reading of Hobbes’s Leviathan, this article argues that both political obligation and a natural duty to justice are unnecessary to ground the ability of political institutions to engage in legitimate coercion. This essay takes issue with common readings of Hobbes which assume consent is necessary to generate obedience on the part of citizens, and furthermore that political obligation is critical for the success of political institutions. While the failure of the traditional Hobbesian narrative of a consenting individual would seem to suggest the Leviathan is indefensible as a project, this paper argues that the right of war in the state of nature was more central for Hob- bes’s understanding of political institutions than obligation. Furthermore, Hobbes provides an adequate defense of political institutions even if his arguments about consent, obligation and punishment are only rhetorical. In this way Hobbesian law is best understood as a set of practical requirements to avoid war, and not as moral requirements that individuals are bound to comply with. Thus Hobbesian political institutions are not vulnerable to contemporary philosophical anarchist criticisms about political obligation and political institutions as such. To develop this reading, I focus primarily on the Leviathan, including interpretations by Skinner, Kateb, Flathman, and Oakeshott. Ultimately, this argument provides insight into contem- porary political institutions of the state, citizenship, criminality, and the law in a world where political obligation has not been adequately justified. (shrink)
The study extends and tests the issue contingent four-component model of ethical decision-making to include moral obligation. A web-based questionnaire was used to gauge the influence of perceived importance of an ethical issue on moral judgment and moral intent. Perceived importance of an ethical issue was found to be a predictor of moral judgment but not of moral intent as predicted. Moral obligation is suggested to be a process that occurs after a moral judgment is made and explained (...) a significant portion of the variance in moral intent. (shrink)
This essay presents a new way of conceptualizing the problem of political obligation. On the traditional ‘normativist’ framing of the issue, the primary task for theory is to secure the content and justification of political obligations, providing practically applicable moral knowledge. This paper develops an alternative, ‘pragmatist’ framing of the issue, by rehabilitating a frequently misunderstood essay by Hanna Pitkin and by recasting her argument in terms of the ‘pragmatic turn’ in recent philosophy, as articulated by Robert Brandom. From (...) this perspective, the content and justification of political obligations cannot be determined in a way that is in principle separable from their application. This casts ‘political obligation’ not as a problem to be philosophically resolved, but as a political predicament that calls for a kind of practical engagement. The merit of this perspective is to draw our attention toward the conditions under which the problem appears as a lived predicament. (shrink)
The moral principle of fairness or fair play is widely believed to be a solid ground for political obligation, i.e., a general prima facie moral duty to obey the law qua law. In this article, I advance a new and, more importantly, principled objection to fairness theories of political obligation by revealing and defending a justificatory gap between the principle of fairness and political obligation: the duty of fairness on its own is incapable of preempting the citizen‟s (...) liberty to reciprocate fairly in ways other than obeying the law. This justificatory gap is unaffected by the ongoing debate between the voluntarist and the nonvoluntarist accounts of fairness, and it cannot be bridged by the two arguments that are perhaps implicit in Klosko‟s account, namely the presumptive benefits argument and the democratic procedure argument. (shrink)
Accepting a promise is normatively significant in that it helps to secure promissory obligation. But what is it for B to accept A’s promise to φ? It is in part for B to intend A’s φ-ing. Thinking of acceptance in this way allows us to appeal to the distinctive role of intentions in practical reasoning and action to better understand the agency exercised by the promisee. The proposal also accounts for rational constraints on acceptance, and the so-called directedness of (...) promissory obligation. Finally, the proposal, conjoined with Cognitivism about intentions, addresses recent criticism of Scanlon’s expectation-based view of promissory obligation. (shrink)
It is often thought that judgments about what we ought to do are limited by judgments about what we can do, or that “ought implies can.” We conducted eight experiments to test the link between a range of moral requirements and abilities in ordinary moral evaluations. Moral obligations were repeatedly attributed in tandem with inability, regardless of the type (Experiments 1–3), temporal duration (Experiment 5), or scope (Experiment 6) of inability. This pattern was consistently observed using a variety of moral (...) vocabulary to probe moral judgments and was insensitive to different levels of seriousness for the consequences of inaction (Experiment 4). Judgments about moral obligation were no different for individuals who can or cannot perform physical actions, and these judgments differed from evaluations of a non-moral obligation (Experiment 7). Together these results demonstrate that commonsense morality rejects the “ought implies can” principle for moral requirements, and that judgments about moral obligation are made independently of considerations about ability. By contrast, judgments of blame were highly sensitive to considerations about ability (Experiment 8), which suggests that commonsense morality might accept a “blame implies can” principle. (shrink)
Rawls's theory of political obligation attempts to avoid the obvious flaws of a Lockean consent model. Rawls rejects a requirement of consent for two reasons: First, the consent requirement of Locke’s theory was intended to ensure that the liberty and equality of the contractors was respected, but this end is better achieved by the principles chosen in the original position, which order the basic structure of a society into which citizens are born. Second, "basing our political ties upon a (...) principle of obligation would complicate the assurance problem." Instead, Rawls offers a duty-based account, whereby we are duty-bound to support and comply with just institutions that apply to us. A. John Simmons argues that Rawls cannot meet the particularity requirement of establishing political obligation to only one state. I assess the response that this requirement can be met by the political constructivist element of Rawls's theory. I conclude that there are fatal flaws in this response. (shrink)
In the recent debate on political legitimacy, we have seen the emergence of a revisionist camp, advocating the idea of ‘legitimacy without political obligation,’ as opposed to the traditional view that political obligation is necessary for state legitimacy. The revisionist idea of legitimacy is appealing because if it stands, the widespread skepticism about the existence of political obligation will not lead us to conclude that the state is illegitimate. Unfortunately, existing conceptions of ‘legitimacy without political obligation’ (...) are subject to serious objections. In this article, I propose a new conception of ‘legitimacy without political obligation,’ and defend it against various objections that the revisionist idea of legitimacy is either conceptually or morally mistaken. This new conception of legitimacy promises to advance the debates between anarchists and statists by making the task of philosophical anarchists significantly more difficult. (shrink)
In 2006, Michael Zimmerman published an underappreciated paper on the nature of moral obligation in which he argued that our moral obligations depend, not on the facts or our beliefs, but on the evidence available to us. Two years later, he published a lengthy book in which he argued more thoroughly for the same conclusion. In this book, Zimmerman returns to the central question of those works to respond to objections that have been brought against the views he presented (...) therein. This new book is the most thorough defense of what has come to be known as the Prospective View of moral obligation and as such is a must-read for those working in normative ethics narrowly construed. (shrink)
In this paper I develop an account of member obligation: the obligations that fall on the members of an obligated collective in virtue of that collective obligation. I use this account to argue that unorganized collections of individuals can constitute obligated agents. I argue first that, to know when a collective obligation entails obligations on that collective’s members, we have to know not just what it would take for each member to do their part in satisfying the (...) collective obligation, but also what they should do if they cannot do their part because others will not do theirs. I go on to argue (contra recent proposals) that it is not good enough for members in this situation to reasonably believe that others will not do their part. Rather, for a member of an obligated collective to permissibly escape doing her part in a collective obligation, she must both reasonably doubt that others will do their part and stand ready to act in case others do as well. -/- This necessary condition for collective obligation points the way to plausible sufficient conditions – conditions that, I argue, allow unstructured collectives to bear obligations. For (a) if a collective’s members are individually obligated to be ready to do their part, in a given collective action, and (b) if that individual readiness makes it sufficiently likely that the collective will in fact act, then it is hard to see what could block an attribution of collective obligation. In particular, in that case there ought to be no additional objection that there is no existing, organized “agent” on which the obligation might fall. For agents are, simply, things that can act. To be able to act is just to be able to succeed by trying. Unstructured collectives try to do something, I argue, when each member acts on their willingness to do their part in that thing if others do theirs; sometimes they succeed, producing a collective action. Some unstructured collectives, therefore, can succeed by trying; therefore, they can act; therefore they are agents. (shrink)
This paper argues that throughout his intellectual career, Hobbes remains unsatisfied with his own attempts at proving the invariant advisability of contract-keeping. Not only does he see himself forced to abandon his early idea that contractual obligation is a matter of physical laws. He also develops and retains doubts concerning its theoretical successor, the doctrine that the obligatoriness characteristic of contracts is the interest in self-preservation in alliance with instrumental reason - i.e. prudence. In fact, it is during his (...) work on Leviathan that Hobbes notes the doctrine's main shortcoming, namely the limitation of its dialectical potential to cases in which contract-breakers are publicly identifiable. This essay shows Hobbes's doubts about his Leviathan's treatment of contractual obligation by way of a close reading of its central 15 th chapter and an analysis of some revealing shifts between the English Leviathan and the Latin edition. The paper ends by suggesting that Hobbes's awareness of the flaws at the heart of his political philosophy helps account for some striking changes in his latest writings. (shrink)
I explore various ways of integrating the framework for predeterminism, agency, and ability in[P.McNamara, Nordic J. Philos. Logic 5 (2)(2000) 135] with a framework for obligations. However,the agential obligation operator explored here is defined in terms of a non-agential yet personal obligation operator and a non-deontic (and non-normal) agency operator. This is contrary to the main current trend, which assumes statements of personal obligation always take agential complements. Instead, I take the basic form to be an agent’s (...) being obligated to be such that p. I sketch some logics for agential obligation based on personal obligation and agency, first in a fairly familiar context that rules out conflicting personal obligations (and derivatively, conflicting agential obligations), and then in contexts that do allow for conflicts (of both sorts). (shrink)
In the paper we discuss different intuitions about the properties of obligatory actions in the framework of deontic action logic based on boolean algebra. Two notions of obligation are distinguished–abstract and processed obligation. We introduce them formally into the system of deontic logic of actions and investigate their properties and mutual relations.
I examine John Martin Fischer's attempt to block an argument for the conclusion that without alternative possibilities, morally deontic judgments (judgments of moral right, wrong, and obligation) cannot be true. I then criticize a recent attempt to sustain the principle that an agent is morally blameworthy for performing an action only if this action is morally wrong. I conclude with discussing Fisher's view that even if causal determinism undermines morally deontic judgments, it still leaves room for other significant moral (...) assessments including assessments of moral blameworthiness. (shrink)
It is argued that claims about personal obligation (of the form "s ought to 0") cannot be reduced to claims about impersonal obligation (of the form "it ought to be the case that p"). The most common attempts at such a reduction are shown to have unacceptable implications in cases involving a plurality of agents. It is then argued that similar problems will face any attempt to reduce personal obligation to impersonal obligation.
In his paper, The logic of obligation and the obligations of the logician, A.N. Prior considers Hintikka's theorem, according to which a statement cannot be both impossible and permissible. This theorem has been seen as problematic for the very idea of a logic of obligation. However, Prior rejects the view that the logic of obligation cannot be formalised. He sees this resistance against such a view as an important part of what could be called the obligation (...) of the logician. Prior argues that Hintikka's theorem should not be seen as something paradoxical. On the contrary, it should be seen as a fully acceptable consequence of a basic and reasonable assumption in deontic logic, namely Hintikka's rule. (shrink)
Is it always morally wrong to violate a law and in doing so does one necessarily act badly? I argue that whether in breaking a law one acts badly depends on considerations unique to the particular act of lawbreaking. The moral judgment in question is deeply contextual and cannot be settled by appeal to blanket moral rules such as that it is wrong to break (any) law. The argument is made by focusing on the example of a runner having to (...) decide whether to disobey the law against trespass. If in trespassing one acts badly it is not because there is a prima facie moral obligation to obey law. Theories of political obligation which ground an obligation to obey law in the principles of fairness or gratitude or in consent all fail to provide a persuasive reason not to trespass given a particular fact situation. I argue that when it is morally wrong to trespass it is morally wrong not because one has broken the law, but because and insofar as one has violated reasonable expectations of privacy. Whether there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in one's property depends in part on the character of the property in question. (shrink)
Family obligation, which has an exceptionally high salience in traditional Chinese society, continues to be significant in contemporary China. In family relations in particular sentiments and practices morphologically similar to those associated with xiao remains intact in so far as an enduring set of expectations concerning age-based obligation continues to structure behavior toward others. Researchers pursuing the theme of “individualization” in Chinese society, on the other hand, argue that family obligations and filial sentiments have substantially weakened. The present (...) paper will show that under conditions of cultural and social change in China filial behavior through family obligation continues to play an important role even though the conventions associated with the relevant expectations, attitudes and emotions have undergone significant change. The paper argues that the culture-system develops not merely through an internal dynamic and that family obligation must be understood in terms of the social and material context in which it operates and the nature of the motivations and imagery of the people that practice it. (shrink)
In this paper, I show where Adolf Reinach comes down on the question of conflicts of obligation. The aim is to look at whether Reinach’s phenomenological realism of obligation holds its own against positions developed by Bernard Williams concerning the nature and import of obligations, and their capacity or incapacity to impinge upon each other and other moral and non-moral concerns. It is shown that even if Reinach turns out to succumb to pitfalls Williams identifies, he nonetheless verges (...) upon agreement with Williams in more ways than one might expect. This result is significant because it shows that Reinach’s phenomenological realism, in contrast to certain forms of moral realism, lays the foundations for what can be considered a heterontology of obligation and ethical concerns, which is presupposed by the experience of (moral) conflict in the first place. (shrink)
Unjustly forgotten, Laird’s “value and obligation”, I shall argue, is of great relevance to contemporary moral philosophy. To this aim, I will explore three main theses of Laird’s paper which are as follows: (T1) We can’t understand judgments of value and obligation in terms of mere feelings and desires. (T2) Desire must be guided by cognition of some value. (T3) Judgments of rightness and obligation must be grounded in judgments of value.
In their article published in Nanoethics, “Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects of Brain-Implants Using Nano-Scale Materials and Techniques”, Berger et al. suggest that there may be a prima facie moral obligation to improve neuro implants with nanotechnology given their possible therapeutic advantages for patients [Nanoethics, 2:241–249]. Although we agree with Berger et al. that developments in nanomedicine hold the potential to render brain implant technologies less invasive and to better target neural stimulation to respond to brain impairments in the (...) near future, we argue against presenting the development of nanobionic clinical devices in terms of a moral obligation to conduct this research. In the first part of the paper, we consider what a duty to pursue new technologies might mean, and in the second we explore some of the negative consequences of defending such development as a moral obligation based on potential benefit. We argue that promoting the advances available to brain implants through developments in nanotechnology and bionics could contribute to medical rhetoric that indirectly increases the risk of exposing patients to harm when participating in clinical trials. We argue that rather than there being a moral obligation to improve nanobionics implants because of their potential benefit, the pursuit of improved neuro implants must be balanced against the prima facie obligations to protect patients against harm and to promote and protect patient autonomy. (shrink)
This article examines the relationship between bioethics and the therapeutic standards in HIV prevention research in the developing world, focusing on the closure of the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) trials in the early 2000s. I situate the PrEP trials in the historical context of the vertical transmission debates of the 1990s, where there was protracted debate over the use of placebos despite the existence of a proven intervention. I then discuss the dramatic improvement in the clinical management of HIV and the (...) treatment access movement, and consider how these contexts have influenced research practice. I argue that as HIV prevention trials oblige researchers to observe the rate at which vulnerable people under their care acquire HIV, there is an obligation to provide antiretroviral treatment to seroconverters and other health care benefits that fall within the scope of researchers' entrustment, both to avoid exploitation and to enact reciprocal justice. I argue against propositions that the obligations to provide specific benefits are vague, fall only upon researchers and sponsors, and create injustices by privileging the few over the many. Finally, I contend that the realisation of a broader standard of care in HIV prevention research broadens the role of research from being a simple tool to produce knowledge to a complex intervention that can play a part in the reduction of health disparities. (shrink)
In this article I criticize a theory of political obligation recently put forward by Christopher Wellman. Wellman's “samaritan theory” grounds both state legitimacy and political obligation in a natural duty to help people in need when this can be done at no unreasonable cost. I argue that this view is not able to account for some important features of the relation between state and citizens that Wellman himself seems to value. My conclusion is that the samaritan theory can (...) only be accepted if we are ready to give up either the traditional notion of political obligation as a prima facie duty valid for every citizen, or the current view of the relationships that should exist between states, citizens and foreigners (the view according to which states should have special concerns for their own citizens). (shrink)
BackgroundIn this manuscript, we argue that within the context of phase IV, physician-researchers retain their fiduciary obligation to treat the patient-participants.DiscussionWe first clarify why the perspective that research ethics ought to be differentiated from clinical ethics is not applicable in phase IV, and therefore, why therapeutic orientation is most convivial in this phase. Next, assuming that ethics guidelines may be representative of common morality, we show that ethics guidelines see physician-researchers primarily as physicians and only secondarily as researchers. We (...) then elaborate on what a fiduciary obligation is and how some of the obligations are default duties. Lastly, we look at the fiduciary obligation of the physician-researcher in phase IV interventional trials.ConclusionThe fiduciary obligation to treat is not as easily waived as in earlier trials. Assuming the entwinement of research and practice in phase IV, physician-researchers, in collaboration with other researchers, investigators, and research ethics committees, should ensure that in terms of study design, methodology, and research practice, the therapeutic value of the research to the patient-participants is not diminished. (shrink)
In The Troubadour of Knowledge, Michel Serres demonstrates, by means of an extended discussion of learning, that our capacity to adopt a position presupposes a kind of disorienting exposure to a dimension of pure possibility that both subtends and destabilizes that position. In this paper I trace out the implications of this insight for our understanding of obligation, especially as it is articulated in the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Specifically, I argue that obligation is given along with (...) a dimension of moral possibility, and not, as Kant thought, as an unmediated fact of reason. (shrink)
The two justificatory roles of the social contract are establishing whether or not a state is legitimate simpliciter and establishing whether any particular individual is politically obligated to obey the dictates of its governing institutions. Rawls's theory is obviously designed to address the first role but less obviously the other. Rawls does offer a duty-based theory of political obligation that has been criticized by neo-Lockean A. John Simmons. I assess Simmons's criticisms and the possible responses that could be made (...) to them, including those offered by Samuel Freeman. I conclude they rest on a Rawlsian equivocation and ultimately fail. (shrink)
P.J. Markie tries to solve the so-called particularity problem of natural duty accounts of political obligation, a problem which seems to make natural duty accounts implausible. I argue that Markie at best “dissolves” the problem: while his own natural duty account of political obligation still does not succeed in ensuring particularity, this is not an implausible but an entirely plausible implication of his account, thanks to the weakness of his concept of political obligation. The price for this, (...) however, is that his approach has little to do with political obligation and the particularity problem as discussed in the literature. (shrink)
Law is a morally valuable institution, because every community with a legal system has valuable institutional facilities to coordinate the life of the community in a way that is general and systematic. In every legal system, the value of those facilities yields a moral obligation to obey some laws. But the law’s role in guiding conduct is subsidiary to the responsibility to act with a principled attention to the good of persons, and human law by nature is arbitrary in (...) its application in some cases. The combination of its arbitrariness and its subsidiary role mean that there is no general obligation to obey the law. (shrink)
The paper critically discusses the deontological interpretation of Hobbesian contractual obligation which has been advocated by commentators such as Brian Barry, D. D. Raphael and Bernd Ludwig. According to this interpretation, the obligation to comply with contracts and covenants is fundamentally different from the obligation to observe the laws of nature. While the latter is taken to be a prudential obligation that is logically dependent upon the individual aim of self-preservation, the former is viewed as an (...) absolute or unconditional moral obligation that solely follows from the fact that the individual has bound himself to the performance or omission of certain actions. As can be shown, the deontological interpretation suffers from inherent problems and does not provide an appropriate interpretation of the Hobbesian texts. In particular, it can be demonstrated that the attempt to use Hobbes's concept of 'freedom as deliberation' in order to explain how obligations arise from contractual agreements faces serious difficulties. (shrink)
What is the connection between action that is caused by inauthentic antecedent springs of action, such as surreptitiously engineered-in desires and beliefs, and moral obligation? If, for example, an agent performs an action that derives from such antecedent springs can it be that the agent is not obligated to perform this action owing to the inauthenticity of its causal antecedents? I defend an affirmative response, assuming that we morally ought to bring about the states of affairs that occur in (...) the intrinsically best worlds accessible to us and that a version of attitudinal hedonism is the axiology for ranking worlds. (shrink)
: A vital presupposition of an influential argument for the incompatibility of divine foreknowledge and libertarian free action is that free action requires alternative possibilities. A recent, noteworthy challenge to this presupposition invokes a “Divine Frankfurt‐type example”: God's foreknowledge of one's future actions prevents one from doing otherwise without having any responsibility‐undermining effect on one's actions. First, I explain why features of God's omniscience cast doubt on this Frankfurtian response. Second, even if this appraisal is mistaken, I argue that divine (...) foreknowledge is irreconcilable with moral obligation if such foreknowledge eliminates alternatives. (shrink)
Interpreters disagree on the origin that Francisco Suárez assigns to political obligation and correlative political subjection. According to some, Suárez, as other social contract theorists, believes that it is the consent of the individuals that causes political obligation. Others, however, claim that for Suárez, political obligation is underived from the individuals' consent which creates the city. In support of this claim they invoke Suárez's view that political power emanates from the city by way of "natural resultancy". I (...) argue that analysis of Suárez's less studied De voto and De iuramento reveals that, for Suárez, consent causes both the city and the citizen's political obligation. Moreover, close inspection of the notion of causation by natural resultancy within Suárez's metaphysics shows that what emanates from the body politic in this fashion is not, as claimed, political subjection and political obligation, but rather the city's right to self-mastership. Because for him political obligation does originate in consent it is not incorrect to regard Suárez as a social contract theorist. (shrink)
Stewart Shapiro has objected to the epistemicist theory of vagueness on grounds that it gives counterintuitive predictions about cases involving conditional obligation. This paper details a response on the epistemicist’s behalf. I first argue that Shapiro’s own presentation of the objection is unsuccessful as an argument against epistemicism. I then reconstruct and offer two alternative arguments inspired by Shapiro’s considerations, and argue that these fail too, given the information-sensitive nature of conditional obligations.
An enduring question in political and legal philosophy concerns whether we have a general moral obligation to follow the law. In this paper, I argue that Philip Soper’s intuitively appealing effort to give new life to the idea of legal obligation by characterising it as a duty of deference is ultimately unpersuasive. Soper claims that people who understand what a legal system is and admit that it is valuable must recognise that they would be morally inconsistent to deny (...) that they owe deference to state norms. However, if the duty of deference stemmed from people’s decision to regard the law as valuable as Soper argues, then people who do not admit the value of the state would have no duty as such to defer to its norms. And, more importantly, people who admit the value of the state would have a duty not to defer to particular norms, namely those norms which violate the values that ground their preference for a state. This critique of Soper operates within his parameters by accepting his claim that moral consistency generates reasons to act. Even on those terms, Soper’s defence of legal obligation as a duty of deference is unpersuasive. (shrink)
The fact that A has relied on B to do something is often taken to be a relevant factor in judging that B has a moral or legal obligation to do that thing. This paper investigates the relation between reliance and obligation. Specifically, the question is whether reliance and moral obligation are connected by some relation of conditionality. I consider four such relations - necessary condition, sufficient condition, necessary part of a sufficient condition, and independent necessary part (...) of a sufficient condition. I argue that only the third one connects reliance and moral obligation, and that it does so in a trivial way. There are nevertheless two justifications for the prominence given to reliance in morality and law. First, reliance appears to be a sufficient condition of states of affairs involving concepts related to obligation. Second, reliance is a fairly reliable indicator of obligation. (shrink)
The principle of fairness holds that individuals (beneficiaries) who benefit from a cooperative scheme of others (cooperators) have an obligation to do their share in return for their benefit. The original proponent of this principle, H. L. A. Hart suggests ‘mutuality of restrictions’ as a moral basis because it is fair to mutually restrict the freedom of both beneficiaries and cooperators; so called the fairness obligation. This paper explores ‘mutuality of restrictions’, which is interpreted as a right-based and (...) an equality-based justification of the fairness obligation. It is not argued whether both ways of justifying the obligation makes a success, but that they are in need of presupposing that there is a duty for beneficiaries to do their share in return for their benefit. This suggests turning to a duty-based justification of the fairness obligation. (shrink)
According to Immanuel Kant, the objective validity of obligation is given as a fact of reason, which forces itself upon us and which requires no deduction of the kind that he had provided for the categories in the Critique of Pure Reason. This fact grounds a moral philosophy that treats obligation as a good that trumps all others and that presents the moral subject as radically responsible, singled out by an imperatival address. Based on conceptions of indifference and (...) facticity that Charles Scott has articulated in his recent work, I argue that these broadly Kantian commitments are mistaken. More specifically, I argue that the fact of obligation is given along with a dimension of indifference that disrupts the hierarchical relation between moral and non-moral goods and that renders questionable the unconditional character of responsibility. (shrink)
Although it has become increasingly evident that an adequate theory of obligation must rest on evolutionary biology and human ethology, attempts toward this end need to explore the full range of personal, cultural, and political obligations observed in our species. The new naturalism reveals the complexity of social behavior and the defects of reductionist models that oversimplify the foundations of human duties and rights. Ultimately, this approach suggest a return to the Aristotelian concept of natural justice.
John Horton has argued for an associative theory of political obligation in which such obligation is seen as a concomitant of membership of a particular polity, where a polity provides the generic goods of order and security. Accompanying these substantive claims is a methodological thesis about the centrality of the phenomenology of ordinary moral consciousness to our understanding of the problem of political obligation. The phenomenological strategy seems modest but in some way it is far-reaching promising to (...) dissolve some long-standing problems of political theory. However, it fails at just the point at which a theory of political obligation is needed, namely when individuals question the grounds of their political obligation. A principle of obligation is needed to provide individuals with a reason for compliance with authoritative social rules when the exercise of that obligation is irksome. It is at this point that we need to invoke the idea of society as an implicit social contract, in which obligations are seen as stemming from those terms that it would be in the interests of individuals to agree in a social contract. This is consistent with the method of reflective equilibrium. (shrink)
In this paper the authors address the recent argument that we have an obligation to seek or actively bring about our own death when we burden others too greatly. Some of the problems with this argument and some of the practical conseqeuences of adopting such a point of view are discussed in this paper. We argue that the argument rests on an individualistic approach which sees the family being burdened as standing alone instead of seeing it as embedded in (...) a burden-sharing community. (shrink)
The author introduces the notions of crucial argument and crucial evidence in the philosophy of intellectual history (broadly construed, including the history of political thought). He will use these concepts and take sides in an important controversy in Hobbes studies, namely whether Hobbes holds a prudential or a deontological theory of contractual obligation. Though there is textual evidence for both readings, he will argue that there is especially relevant evidence - crucial evidence - for interpreting Hobbes's account in a (...) deontological fashion. (shrink)
Après avoir rappelé, à la lumière des analyses de W. N. Hohfeld, ce que peut signifier le concept de droits, on montre que la notion d'obligations envers les générations futures est plus intelligible dans une théorie qui fonde les droits sur la possession d'intérêts que dans une théorie qui les reconduit à l'expression d'une volonté. Cette approche de la question génère toutefois le paradoxe suivant : la génération présente a l'obligation de prendre en compte les intérêts de générations futures (...) sans avoir pour autant l'obligation de faire en sorte qu'il existe des générations futures. On en conclut que les obligations envers les générations futures ne peuvent être que conditionnelles. (shrink)
The contemporary political philosopher John Rawls considers himself to be part of the social contract tradition of John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant, but not of the tradition of Locke's predecessor, Thomas Hobbes. Call the Hobbesian tradition interest-based, and the Lockean tradition right-based, because it assumes that there are irreducible moral facts which the social contract can assume. The primary purpose of Locke's social contract is to justify the authority of the state over its citizens despite the fact that (...) those citizens are naturally free and equal. I assume that this task is of central importance to all right-based social contract theories: in chapter one I lay out the general problems faced by all contract theories, and in chapter two, three and four I examine in depth the accounts of political obligation offered by Locke, Rousseau, and Rawls. I conclude that all members of the right-based social contract tradition fail to provide an account of obligation that can explain the bond between a citizen and her state. (shrink)
Critiques social contract theory from the perspective of feminist psychoanalytic and psychological theory and develops an alternative feminist understanding of obligation as rooted in an epistemology of connection. Utilizes a feminist standpoint theory approach, and contains a discussion of the relevance of postmodernism to feminist philosophy in general and standpoint theory in particular.
In Herman Melville’s Bartleby, the Scrivener, the narrator finds himself involved in a moral relation with the title character whose sense he finds difficult to articulate. I argue that we can make sense of this relation, up to a certain point, in terms of the influential account of obligation that Stephen Darwall advances in The Second-Person Standpoint. But I also argue that there is a dimension of moral sense in the relation that is not captured by Darwall’s account, or (...) indeed by any of the accounts of obligation that have been most prominent in the history of western philosophy from the early modern period up to the present. More specifically, I argue that what is brought out in the relation between Bartleby and the narrator is the separation of the experience of moral necessitation from the rule that would give its content. I attempt to show that this obligation without rule is a genuine moral phenomenon and that we can begin to understand it in terms of the ideas of love, singularity, and potentiality as these are developed in the work of Giorgio Agamben. (shrink)
It is commonly held that Aristotle's views on politics have little relevance to the preoccupations of modern political theory with authority and obligation. Andres Rosler's original study argues that, on the contrary, Aristotle does examine the question of political obligation and its limits, and that contemporary political theorists have much to learn from him. Rosler takes his exploration further, considering the ethical underpinning of Aristotle's political thought, the normativity of his ethical and political theory, and the concepts of (...) political authority and obligation themselves. (shrink)
Is the relation ‘is a morally permissible alternative to’ transitive? The answer seems to be a straightforward yes. If Act B is a morally permissible alternative to Act A and Act C is a morally permissible alternative to B then how could C fail to be a morally permissible alternative to A? However, as both Dale Dorsey and Frances Kamm point out, there are cases where this transitivity appears problematic. My aim in this paper is to provide a solution to (...) this problem. I will then investigate Kamm’s justification for rejecting the transitivity of the ‘is a permissible alternative to’ relation. Next, I will look at Dorsey’s solution, which involves a reinterpretation of the intuitions used to generate the problem. I will argue that neither of these solutions are fully satisfying before going on to provide my own solution to the problem and arguing that it avoids these problems. (shrink)
Skeptical theism claims that the probability of a perfect God’s existence isn’t at all reduced by our failure to see how such a God could allow the horrific suffering that occurs in our world. Given our finite grasp of the realm of value, skeptical theists argue, it shouldn’t surprise us that we fail to see the reasons that justify God in allowing such suffering, and thus our failure to see those reasons is no evidence against God’s existence or perfection. Critics (...) object that skeptical theism implies a degree of moral skepticism that even skeptical theists will find objectionable and that it undermines moral obligations that even skeptical theists will want to preserve. I discuss a version of the first objection and defend a version of the second. (shrink)