Political philosophyPolitical PhilosophyTerm paperExamine the basis for political obligation in lightof various theories like Social contract, generalconsent, general will, justice and common goodAshish SinghB100075/29/2013
Political PhilosophyExamine the basis for political obligation in light of various theories like Social contract,general consent, general will, justice and common goodProblem of political obligations is the fundamental or central problem of the politicalphilosophy. The real question arises as how we mean to political obligation. The problem ofpolitical obligation is fundamentally misconceived when it is taken as or expressed asquestion“Why should I obey the law ? ”The answer to this question would be that citizens are obliged to obey the laws of thestate because state is the only supreme authority and state has the right to issue orders andcitizen are compel to follow them. Political obligations leads to two different questionhaving similar answers .“Why does the state bound us in the constraints of law and orders ?”“Why citizens are obliged to obey the law ?”Every citizen is bound with the laws which imposes legal obligation. Factors supporting thelegal obligation:Prudential obligation: fear of the supreme authority (form of tyranny or dictatorship),forexample : if we try to break the law may be I could get severe punishment .Moral Obligation: citizens have enough respect for the law and order and obeying the law istheir duty.Socrates gives as a perfect example for the moral obligationGreek jury found Socrates guilty of impiety and corruption of the morals of the youth and hewas given death sentence by the court .Socrates friends arranged escape from prison but stillhe chose to drink bowl of hemlock arguing that to “defy the judgement against him would beto break his agreements and commitments and to mistreat his friends, his country and thelaw of Athens”Today we are all member of the state hence we can necessarily accept the state jurisdictionbut our membership to such states is voluntary in nature.
Political PhilosophyGrounds of Political obligations1) The state rests on social contract.2) The state rests on consent.3) The state represents the general will.4) The State secures the Justice.5) Theory of common good or general interest.Theory of social contractJustify political obligations as being based on implicit promise, like the obligation to obeythe rules of voluntary association.Plato on Social contract (Excerpt from Crito)Plato discusses the nature of the social contract, while at the same time discussing Socrates’reasons for not trying to escape when he had the chance. The setting for the discussion is thefinal night of Socrates’ life. Knowing that he has been sentenced to death by the Athenianjury (on the charge of turning the young away from the traditional gods of Athens), one ofhis friends, Crito, suggests that he allow them to bribe the guards into allowing Socrates toescape. Socrates’ refusal to do this is based on what has become known as the socialcontract theory.The social contract is an unspoken and unwritten agreement between any community andits residents: society provides assistance to educating children, and the basic rules formarriage, and educating children (which produces reasonably healthy children who have aminimum of learning), and the residents agree to obey society’s laws.Forms of Theory of social contract-Contract of CitizenshipPlato describes this theory in his excerpts of crito ,and he explains that if a man is utilisingthe privileges given by state then hi is bound to respect /oblige the law and order of thestate and it is reasonable that we are giving back something to the state .Citizen become theintegral part of the state takjng birth in the state .Author is trying to point out the
Political Philosophydifferences between past times and present days and scopes through the lens of socialcontract. Earlier days it was presumed that citizens have enough freedom to accept thistheory but now this freedom does not exist anymore .Contract of communityBased on the Hobbe’s social contract theory .It is quite clear that if people is not bounded bysuch laws and order ,there would be chaos all over the world so this favours towards thehumanity . Next thing comes is moral obligations where people have made promises torespect state laws.Contract of GovernmentAccording to this form of social contract theory ,people contract themselves among group ofpeople and then decide their own law and orders such that they themselves and otherscitizens are bound to follow them (Doubly contract).Theory of ConsentTheory of consent debates about the political power suppression over man .Law and orderscould not compel people to accept them without their cosentment.It can be understandfrom the example that a king cannot forcefully make new laws without consenting from thegroup of citizens over whom it is implemented or respective representatives of the citizens.Theory of consent eradicates the law obligation without the consent of citizens.Theory of general willGiven by Jean-Jacques-Rouseau in the 18thcentury.It includes the idea of common good asthe object or aim of the state .The phrase, "general will" as Rousseau used it, occurs in Article Six of the Declaration of theRights of Man and the Citizen (French: Déclaration des droits de lHomme et du citoyen),composed in 1789 during the French Revolution:“The law is the expression of the general will. All citizens have the right to contributepersonally, or through their representatives, to its formation. It must be the same for all,whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in its eyes, are equally admissible to
Political Philosophyall public dignities, positions, and employments, according to their capacities, and withoutany other distinction than that of their virtues and their talents”A superficial view is that we need to obey the laws because they represent general will.General will can be presumed as will of citizens or most of the citizens (majority).Majordisadvantage arose when single individual comes into the scenario. Sometimes singleindividual are suppressed will because it is accepted by the majority of people. Consideringthe example, collecting the tax of earthworks from the people who are living over hills theydo not require earthworks because they can never be effected by Flood in valley.Theory of justice“Justice exists only between men whose mutual relations are governed by law” (Aristotle,book 5, part 6)According to this theory our obligation to obey the state law depends upon the fact thatthese laws are intended to secure justice or moral rights .one context which discussed inthis theory us about the natural rights .looking out the possibility loosing the natural rights.Most of us think that a criminal looses all rights and Locke also advocated that naturalrights are forfeited by the one who breaches the natural rights of others.Theory Of Common good or general interest“Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend toproduce the reverse of happiness” –John Stuart MillTheory held by utilitarian’s representing "the greatest possible good for the greatestpossible number of individuals". The state is necessary means to secure substantial part ofthis moral end and therefore we are obliged to obey the law as an essential condition offulfilling our moral obligation .The state carries out purpose of making laws and makingsociety free from the crimes but what if government is working against the promotion ofcitizens, and then government loses its right of obedience.