To access these databases off-campus you must create a proxy. You are encouraged to discuss the course material with each other, however all assignments must be entirely your own work: you are not permitted to copy or borrow from the reading notes, drafts, or outlines of other students. If you have any doubts about what constitutes plagiarism or a violation of the honor code, consult with me beforehand. Goals : Students will think and write critically about the basis of our ethical obligations and be able to apply ethical frameworks to particular cases.
This course satisfies the Honors College core requirement in Culture, Ideas and Values, and serves as an elective course for Philosophy, Political Science, and Law and Society concentrators and students minoring in Ethics. Office Hours : Arranged by phoning , or emailing tunick fau. Schedule of Reading. In the interval between the promise and my fulfilling it, a greater and nobler purpose offers itself, and calls with an imperious voice for my cooperation. Which ought I to prefer? That which best deserves my preference. Calley, 22 U.
Differences in language might prevent the Swiss and the Indian from actually using the word "promise" or its equivalent to create an obligation. But Locke's point is that a promissory obligation could arise between them even though they do not share a social practice of promising, or the word "promise. We begin with Hume, who disagrees with Locke. Brandt, R. Downie, R. Grant, C. McNeilly, F. Melden, A. Peetz, Vera, "Promises and Threats," Mind , online at jstor.
The Church, sign and defender of the transcendence of the human person b. The Church, the Kingdom of God and the renewal of social relations c. New heavens and a new earth d. The Church, God's dwelling place with men and women b. Enriching and permeating society with the Gospel c. Social doctrine, evangelization and human promotion d.
The rights and duties of the Church. Knowledge illuminated by faith b. In friendly dialogue with all branches of knowledge c. An expression of the Church's ministry of teaching d. For a society reconciled in justice and love e. A message for the sons and daughters of the Church and for humanity f. Under the sign of continuity and renewal. The beginning of a new path b. From Rerum Novarum to our own day c. In the light and under the impulse of the Gospel. Creatures in the image of God b. The tragedy of sin c. The universality of sin and the universality of salvation.
The unity of the person B. Openness to transcendence and uniqueness of the person. Open to transcendence b. Unique and unrepeatable c. Respect for human dignity. The value and limits of freedom b. The bond uniting freedom with truth and the natural law. The equal dignity of all people E. The social nature of human beings. The value of human rights b. The specification of rights c.
Rights and duties d. Rights of peoples and nations e. Filling in the gap between the letter and the spirit. Meaning and primary implications b.
Responsibility of everyone for the common good c. Tasks of the political community. Origin and meaning b. The universal destination of goods and private property c.
The universal destination of goods and the preferential option for the poor. Concrete indications. Meaning and value b. Participation and democracy. Solidarity as a social principle and a moral virtue c. Solidarity and the common growth of mankind d. Solidarity in the life and message of Jesus Christ. The relationship between principles and values b. Truth c. Freedom d. Importance of the family for the person b. Importance of the family for society.
The value of marriage b. The sacrament of marriage. Love and the formation of a community of persons b. The family is the sanctuary of life c. The task of educating d. The dignity and rights of children. Solidarity in the family b. The family, economic life and work. The duty to cultivate and care for the earth b. Jesus, a man of work c. The duty to work. The subjective and objective dimensions of work b. The relationship between labour and capital c. Work, the right to participate d. The relationship between labour and private property e. Rest from work. Work is necessary b.
Drag to reposition
The role of the State and civil society in promoting the right to work c. The family and the right to work d. Women and the right to work e. Child labour f. Immigration and work g. The world of agriculture and the right to work. The dignity of workers and the respect for their rights b. The right to fair remuneration and income distribution c. The right to strike. The importance of unions b. New forms of solidarity. An epoch-making phase of transition b. Man, poverty and riches b. Wealth exists to be shared. Business and its goals b. Role of business owners and management. Role of the free market b.
Action of the State c. Role of intermediate bodies d. Savings and consumer goods. Globalization: opportunities and risks b. The international financial system c. Role of the international community in an era of a global economy d. An integral development in solidarity e. Need for more educational and cultural formation. God's dominion b. Jesus and political authority c.
The early Christian communities. Political community, the human person and a people b. Defending and promoting human rights c. Social life based on civil friendship. The foundation of political authority b. Authority as moral force c. The right to conscientious objection d. The right to resist e. Inflicting punishment. Values and democracy b. Institutions and democracy c. Moral components of political representation d.
Instruments for political participation e. Information and democracy. Value of civil society b. Priority of civil society c. Application of the principle of subsidiarity. Religious freedom, a fundamental human right B. The Catholic Church and the political community. Autonomy and independence b. Unity of the human family b. Jesus Christ, prototype and foundation of the new humanity c. The universal vocation of Christianity. The international community and values b. Relations based on harmony between the juridical and moral orders. The value of international organizations b.
The juridical personality of the Holy See. Cooperation to guarantee the right to development b. The fight against poverty c. Foreign debt. The environment, a collective good b. The use of biotechnology c. The environment and the sharing of goods d. New lifestyles. Legitimate defence b.
Defending peace c. The duty to protect the innocent d. Measures against those who threaten peace e. Disarmament f. The condemnation of terrorism. Social doctrine and the inculturation of faith b. Social doctrine and social pastoral activity c. Social doctrine and formation d. Promoting dialogue e. The subjects of social pastoral activity. The lay faithful b. Spirituality of the lay faithful c. Acting with prudence d. Social doctrine and lay associations e. Service in the various sectors of social life. Service to the human person 2. Service in culture 3.
Service in the economy 4. Service in politics. The help that the Church offers to modern man b. Starting afresh from faith in Christ c. A solid hope d. Index of references Analytical index. Apostolic Exhortation Ap. Letter Apostolic Letter c. Denzinger - A. Letter Encyclical Letter ibid. Migne q. Continuing to expound and update the rich patrimony of Catholic social doctrine, Pope John Paul II has for his part published three great Encyclicals — Laborem Exercens , Sollicitudo Rei Socialis and Centesimus Annus — that represent fundamental stages of Catholic thought in this area.
For their part, numerous Bishops in every part of the world have contributed in recent times to a deeper understanding of the Church's social doctrine. Numerous scholars on every continent have done the same. It was therefore hoped that a compendium of all this material should be compiled, systematically presenting the foundations of Catholic social doctrine. It is commendable that the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has taken up this task, devoting intense efforts to this initiative in recent years.
This work also shows the value of Catholic social doctrine as an instrument of evangelization cf. Centesimus Annus , 54 , because it places the human person and society in relationship with the light of the Gospel. The principles of the Church's social doctrine, which are based on the natural law, are then seen to be confirmed and strengthened, in the faith of the Church, by the Gospel of Christ. In this light, men and women are invited above all to discover themselves as transcendent beings, in every dimension of their lives, including those related to social, economic and political contexts.
Faith brings to fullness the meaning of the family, which, founded on marriage between one man and one woman, constitutes the first and vital cell of society. It moreover sheds light on the dignity of work, which, as human activity destined to bring human beings to fulfilment, has priority over capital and confirms their rightful claim to share in the fruits that result from work. In the present text we can see the importance of moral values, founded on the natural law written on every human conscience; every human conscience is hence obliged to recognize and respect this law.
Humanity today seeks greater justice in dealing with the vast phenomenon of globalization; it has a keen concern for ecology and a correct management of public affairs; it senses the need to safeguard national consciences, without losing sight however of the path of law and the awareness of the unity of the human family. The world of work, profoundly changed by the advances of modern technology, reveals extraordinary levels of quality, but unfortunately it must also acknowledge new forms of instability, exploitation and even slavery within the very societies that are considered affluent.
In different areas of the planet the level of well-being continues to grow, but there is also a dangerous increase in the numbers of those who are becoming poor, and, for various reasons, the gap between less developed and rich countries is widening. The free market, an economic process with positive aspects, is nonetheless showing its limitations. On the other hand, the preferential love for the poor represents a fundamental choice for the Church, and she proposes it to all people of good will.
Contemporary cultural and social issues involve above all the lay faithful, who are called, as the Second Vatican Council reminds us, to deal with temporal affairs and order them according to God's will cf. Lumen Gentium , We can therefore easily understand the fundamental importance of the formation of the laity, so that the holiness of their lives and the strength of their witness will contribute to human progress. This document intends to help them in this daily mission.
Moreover, it is interesting to note how the many elements brought together here are shared by other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, as well as by other Religions. The text has been presented in such a way as to be useful not only from within ab intra , that is among Catholics, but also from outside ab extra. In fact, those who share the same Baptism with us, as well as the followers of other Religions and all people of good will, can find herein fruitful occasions for reflection and a common motivation for the integral development of every person and the whole person.
The Holy Father, while hoping that the present document will help humanity in its active quest for the common good, invokes God's blessings on those who will take the time to reflect on the teachings of this publication. In expressing my own personal good wishes for the success of this endeavour, I congratulate Your Eminence and your collaborators at the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace for the important work carried out, and with sentiments of respect I remain.
I am pleased to present the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church , which, according to the request received from the Holy Father, has been drawn up in order to give a concise but complete overview of the Church's social teaching. Transforming social realities with the power of the Gospel, to which witness is borne by women and men faithful to Jesus Christ, has always been a challenge and it remains so today at the beginning of the third millennium of the Christian era. For this very reason the men and women of our day have greater need than ever of the Gospel: of the faith that saves, of the hope that enlightens, of the charity that loves.
The reading of these pages is suggested above all in order to sustain and foster the activity of Christians in the social sector, especially the activity of the lay faithful to whom this area belongs in a particular way; the whole of their lives must be seen as a work of evangelization that produces fruit. This work, entrusted to me and now offered to those who will read it, carries therefore the seal of a great witness to the Cross who remained strong in faith in the dark and terrible years of Vietnam. This witness will know of our gratitude for all his precious labour, undertaken with love and dedication, and he will bless those who stop to reflect on these pages.
I invoke the intercession of Saint Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer and Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patron of the Universal Church and of Work, so that this text will bear abundant fruit in the life of society as an instrument for the proclamation of the Gospel, for justice and for peace. At the dawn of the Third Millennium. Jn through which we passed during the Great Jubilee of the year . Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life cf. Jn : contemplating the Lord's face, we confirm our faith and our hope in him, the one Saviour and goal of history. The Church continues to speak to all people and all nations, for it is only in the name of Christ that salvation is given to men and women.
At the dawn of this Third Millennium, the Church does not tire of proclaiming the Gospel that brings salvation and genuine freedom also to temporal realities. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. To the people of our time, her travelling companions, the Church also offers her social doctrine.
Discovering that they are loved by God, people come to understand their own transcendent dignity, they learn not to be satisfied with only themselves but to encounter their neighbour in a network of relationships that are ever more authentically human. They are people capable of bringing peace where there is conflict, of building and nurturing fraternal relationships where there is hatred, of seeking justice where there prevails the exploitation of man by man. Only love is capable of radically transforming the relationships that men maintain among themselves.
This is the perspective that allows every person of good will to perceive the broad horizons of justice and human development in truth and goodness. Love faces a vast field of work and the Church is eager to make her contribution with her social doctrine, which concerns the whole person and is addressed to all people.
So many needy brothers and sisters are waiting for help, so many who are oppressed are waiting for justice, so many who are unemployed are waiting for a job, so many peoples are waiting for respect. Condemned to illiteracy? Lacking the most basic medical care? Without a roof over their head? The scenario of poverty can extend indefinitely, if in addition to its traditional forms we think of its newer patterns. These latter often affect financially affluent sectors and groups which are nevertheless threatened by despair at the lack of meaning in their lives, by drug addiction, by fear of abandonment in old age or sickness, by marginalization or social discrimination And how can we remain indifferent to the prospect of an ecological crisis which is making vast areas of our planet uninhabitable and hostile to humanity?
Or by the problems of peace, so often threatened by the spectre of catastrophic wars? Or by contempt for the fundamental human rights of so many people, especially children? Christian love leads to denunciation, proposals and a commitment to cultural and social projects; it prompts positive activity that inspires all who sincerely have the good of man at heart to make their contribution. Humanity is coming to understand ever more clearly that it is linked by one sole destiny that requires joint acceptance of responsibility, a responsibility inspired by an integral and shared humanism.
It sees that this mutual destiny is often conditioned and even imposed by technological and economic factors, and it senses the need for a greater moral awareness that will guide its common journey. Marvelling at the many innovations of technology, the men and women of our day strongly desire that progress be directed towards the true good of the humanity, both of today and tomorrow. The significance of this document. The Christian knows that in the social doctrine of the Church can be found the principles for reflection, the criteria for judgment and the directives for action which are the starting point for the promotion of an integral and solidary humanism.
It is in this light that the publication of a document providing the fundamental elements of the social doctrine of the Church, showing the relationship between this doctrine and the new evangelization , appeared to be so useful. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which has drawn up the present document and is fully responsible for its content, prepared the text in a broad-based consultation with its own Members and Consulters, with different Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, with the Bishops' Conferences of various countries, with individual Bishops and with experts on the issues addressed.
This document intends to present in a complete and systematic manner, even if by means of an overview, the Church's social teaching, which is the fruit of careful Magisterial reflection and an expression of the Church's constant commitment in fidelity to the grace of salvation wrought in Christ and in loving concern for humanity's destiny.
Herein the most relevant theological, philosophical, moral, cultural and pastoral considerations of this teaching are systematically presented as they relate to social questions. In this way, witness is borne to the fruitfulness of the encounter between the Gospel and the problems that mankind encounters on its journey through history. In studying this Compendium, it is good to keep in mind that the citations of Magisterial texts are taken from documents of differing authority.
Alongside council documents and encyclicals there are also papal addresses and documents drafted by offices of the Holy See. As one knows, but it seems to bear repeating, the reader should be aware that different levels of teaching authority are involved. The document limits itself to putting forth the fundamental elements of the Church's social doctrine, leaving to Episcopal Conferences the task of making the appropriate applications as required by the different local situations.
This document offers a complete overview of the fundamental framework of the doctrinal corpus of Catholic social teaching. This overview allows us to address appropriately the social issues of our day, which must be considered as a whole, since they are characterized by an ever greater interconnectedness, influencing one another mutually and becoming increasingly a matter of concern for the entire human family. The exposition of the Church's social doctrine is meant to suggest a systematic approach for finding solutions to problems, so that discernment, judgment and decisions will correspond to reality, and so that solidarity and hope will have a greater impact on the complexities of current situations.
These principles, in fact, are interrelated and shed light on one another mutually, insofar as they are an expression of Christian anthropology, fruits of the revelation of God's love for the human person. However, it must not be forgotten that the passing of time and the changing of social circumstances will require a constant updating of the reflections on the various issues raised here, in order to interpret the new signs of the times.
The document is presented as an instrument for the moral and pastoral discernment of the complex events that mark our time; as a guide to inspire, at the individual and collective levels, attitudes and choices that will permit all people to look to the future with greater trust and hope ; as an aid for the faithful concerning the Church's teaching in the area of social morality. From this there can spring new strategies suited to the demands of our time and in keeping with human needs and resources.
In short, the text is proposed as an incentive for dialogue with all who sincerely desire the good of mankind. This document is intended first of all for Bishops, who will determine the most suitable methods for making it known and for interpreting it correctly. Priests, men and women religious , and, in general, those responsible for formation will find herein a guide for their teaching and a tool for their pastoral service. Christian communities will be able to look to this document for assistance in analyzing situations objectively, in clarifying them in the light of the unchanging words of the Gospel, in drawing principles for reflection, criteria for judgment and guidelines for action.
This document is proposed also to the brethren of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, to the followers of other religions, as well as to all people of good will who are committed to serving the common good : may they receive it as the fruit of a universal human experience marked by countless signs of the presence of God's Spirit. It is a treasury of things old and new cf.
It is a sign of hope in the fact that religions and cultures today show openness to dialogue and sense the urgent need to join forces in promoting justice, fraternity, peace and the growth of the human person. The Catholic Church joins her own commitment to that made in the social field by other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, whether at the level of doctrinal reflection or at the practical level.
Together with them, the Catholic Church is convinced that from the common heritage of social teachings preserved by the living tradition of the people of God there will come motivations and orientations for an ever closer cooperation in the promotion of justice and peace.
At the service of the full truth about man. Ex ; Jn and moves among them cf. By means of the present document, the Church intends to offer a contribution of truth to the question of man's place in nature and in human society, a question faced by civilizations and cultures in which expressions of human wisdom are found. Rooted in a past that is often thousands of years old and manifesting themselves in forms of religion, philosophy and poetic genius of every time and of every people, these civilizations and cultures offer their own interpretation of the universe and of human society, and seek an understanding of existence and of the mystery that surrounds it.
Who am I? This will be obvious once we pay attention to the fact that, in addition to being determined by our membership in the political community, our identity is equally determined indeed determined to an even greater extent by our memberships in other social groups: our family, our religious community, our ethnic group, and a whole series of other groups whose memberships we take up, more or less voluntarily, in the course of our life.
This seems to be the only possible explanation for Horton's view that the latter cannot reject their membership within the polity in the same way as the former.
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But the obvious reply here is that denying membership in all social groups is only one way of denying membership in the political community. Indeed this is why denying political obligation does not commit them to the implausible claim that their identity can exist in some sort of social vacuum. In other words, anarchists can certainly accept that their identity is embedded within certain roles that they occupy qua members of different social groups. What they deny is only their membership in one of these groups: the political community. They do not see themselves as Italian citizens or Spanish citizens, but can still see themselves as brothers or sisters, as sons or parents, as Catholics or Muslims, as environmental activists, football fans, academics and so on.
All these memberships and relationships do shape their identity and allow them to make sense of who they are, even when they reject their membership in the state in which they live. Horton suggests that denying our membership in the political community and the obligations attached to it would be unintelligible, but what seems to be really unintelligible is the possibility of denying all, or even most, of these memberships. Denying any of these, even those most deeply connected with our sense of who we are, seems possible, as Horton himself acknowledges when discussing cases of individuals dissociating from their own family or their religious group Political Obligation , 1st ed.
Thus the question still stands: can the associative theory provide a justification for political obligation in the case of those who do not identify themselves with the polity in which they live? Does the state have the right to subject them to its authority, and do they have a duty to obey and support the state? Presumably the same will be true in the case of anyone who seriously rejects political membership but does not reject at the same time her membership in other social groups.
Here too the minimal sense of identification with the polity is lacking, and thus no associative political obligation can be said to exist. Some might be tempted to object that the anarchist is simply wrong in denying the existence of a morally significant relationship between her and the polity. The fact that she does not recognise the existence of this bond does not change the fact that the bond does exist and imposes obligations on her. If my argument is correct, two conclusions follow. For the theory fails to justify political obligation not only in exceptional cases such as that of the unworldly hermit, but in the case of anyone who genuinely intends to reject her membership in the political community.
In the previous section I have argued that the associative theory cannot justify political obligation over anyone who genuinely rejects membership in the political community. The theory thus ultimately fails to account for universality for the same reason that traditional voluntarist theories fail to do so although not necessarily to the same extent. Moral Principles and Political Obligation , p. According to this view, those who actually identify themselves with the practices and the values of the state thereby satisfying both the objective and the subjective side of the associative argument can be said to have political obligation on associative grounds; those who do not meet this condition, might have political obligations on other grounds — say, because they consented to the state, or because they accepted its benefits.
In other words, different principles can kick in and complement the associative model by justifying political obligation over those not captured by it. I believe that this is how we should address the problem of political obligation, but this is not the place to develop this suggestion. Whereas Tamir explicitly acknowledges that associative obligations can have a voluntarist component, Liberal Nationalism , pp. In Political Obligation he claims that the subjective side of the associative argument should not be read as introducing a voluntarist component because whilst recognising our obligations of membership is important, this does not imply that it is the act of acknowledgment that creates the obligation.
This will be obvious, Horton suggests, if we compare family obligations with obligations arising out of promises. In both cases we need to acknowledge the obligation in order to act upon it, but while in the second case the obligation arises from a voluntary undertaking on the agent's part, in the first the obligation is already there and only needs to be recognised by the agent.
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Now, Horton is certainly right that there is an important difference between the case of family obligations and the case of obligations arising out of promises. In the latter, the obligation is created by an act that we choose to perform, while in the former no such act is required. We have family obligations simply because we occupy certain roles of son, brother etc.
Still, I submit, the fact that we did not choose to take up these roles does not necessarily mean that we do not voluntarily occupy them. The sense in which we can be said to voluntarily occupy them is that we could have stepped out of them if we had wanted. True, stepping out of the role is different from not having occupied it in the first place Boundaries and Allegiances , pp. Nevertheless, the fact that the obligations attached to these roles are normally significantly reduced, if not altogether cancelled, when we decide to step out of them, suggests that they do have an important voluntarist component.
We do have some control over the roles we occupy, and therefore over the obligations attached to them. Horton is right that saying that certain obligations must be acknowledged is not the same as saying that what grounds the obligation is the fact that we acknowledge them. Still, as the subjective side of the associative argument suggests, we can have family obligations only to the extent that we identify with the roles of son, brother and so on. Our endorsing these roles is crucial in justifying the existence of the obligations, and we do have the option not to do so.
But since not endorsing these roles is an option, the obligations that they ground can ultimately be said to be voluntary, at least to some extent. Notice that this is not to reintroduce some sort of tacit consent story. Saying that what grounds our family obligations is tacit consent is misleading in at least two important ways: firstly, it conflates the grounds of associative obligations with the preconditions of these grounds; second, it misrepresents the nature of the obligations.
In the rest of this section I will focus on these two problems in order to show that the associative model I suggest is ultimately different from, and not reducible to, traditional transactional models based on consent. Let me start with the first problem. Saying that what grounds family obligations is tacit consent is misleading because it suggests that it is the fact that we consented to them that creates the obligations. We incur these obligations simply in virtue of the fact that we occupy certain roles, to which the obligations are attached. This again would be a distortion, for the truth is that, at least in many cases, we were just born in them.
Still, our occupying the roles is voluntary in the sense that we could have stepped out of them if we had not endorsed them; and in this case we would have stopped having the obligations attached to the roles. In other words, what grounds the obligation is the fact that we occupy the relevant role, but since our occupying that role is conditional on us not stepping out of it, our willingness not to do so constitutes a precondition of the obligation.
Similarly, none of us ever chose to be born in the polity in which we were born, but this does not change the fact that since we were born in it, we came to occupy a role — the role of citizen — which brings with it specific responsibilities and obligations. If we do not identify with the polity in which we happen to be, we cannot be said to be members; nor, as a consequence, can we be said to have any of the obligations attached to that membership.
In this case, when states treat us as if we had such obligations, they do so unjustifiably. Thus, according to this reformulation of the associative model, what grounds political obligation is the fact that we occupy a certain role in the political community, but having endorsed our membership is a precondition that needs to be fulfilled in order for us to occupy the role. But once we do identify with the polity and endorse our membership, it is this membership, rather than the fact that we endorsed it, that grounds our obligations to the community.
This process however is not completely under my control, and has more to do with my attempt to make sense of the various roles and identities that I gradually take up in my life which often end up being in conflict with each other , than with a conscious plan to give up any of them in particular. Although we can probably identify a moment in which an act of the will corresponding to my choice to deny my parents or disown my son takes place, this is only on the backdrop of a process in which I came to see that the relationship with them is permanently damaged.
To see this better, consider the case of a promise made in an unreflective way. Imagine that I hastily promise you to drive you to the station tomorrow, but this is not something I really want to do. Had I thought more carefully about it, I would have realised that I will miss my favourite TV show, and this would normally count as a good reason for me not to promise you to drive you to the station. We normally think that in this case my promise is morally binding nonetheless, and the reason is that in the case of promises an act of the will is all that is necessary to create the obligation provided that certain conditions are in place.
Imagine that I declare that I intend to detach myself from my family, but I still have the kind of meaningful ties to it that are normally associated with membership. Had I thought more carefully about it, I would have realised that I still feel part of that complex web of practices, emotions and beliefs that constitute family relationships. In this case it is less obvious that my choice to detach from my family is morally significant.
Indeed, I think most would agree that in spite of my formal rejection of family membership, I still am in an important sense a member of the family, with at least many of the obligations and the rights that generally follow from this membership. What I want to suggest now is that, once reformulated in these terms, the model is quite attractive, for it combines the core idea of the associative approach with the most appealing aspect of transactional theories. The model is faithful to the central intuition of the traditional associative view in that it grounds political obligation in those responsibilities we have simply by virtue of our membership in the political community; but it also captures the most attractive aspect of transactional theories, namely the idea that individuals cannot be subjected to any group membership against their will.
Let me start by expanding a bit on the difference between the version of the associative model advanced here and the classic transactional model. While transactional theories typically start with some kind of state of nature scenario and then appeal to voluntarist considerations in order to justify political obligation understood as a duty for those living in the state of nature to subject themselves to the authority of their state , the associative story goes the other way around. It starts with individuals already situated in a social context made of practices and relationships which structure their lives, and then appeals to the responsibilities that these individuals have in this social condition in order to justify the fact that they have political obligation.
Philosophers often think that having a presumption in favor of individual liberty i. To be sure, individuals in the state of nature are supposed to share a language and to be engaged in various kinds of social relationships family relationships, friendship relationships, etc. The idea is that any argument that would justify political obligation starting with individuals that already are part of a political community would be circular.
This however is not necessarily the case. The best way to see this is precisely to consider why we normally postulate that individuals in the state of nature share a language and are engaged in various kinds of social relationships. The reason why we make these assumptions is that we want to justify political obligation for people like us. We do not exist in a social vacuum and thus we do not want to justify political obligation for hypothetical individuals that exist in a social vacuum, as this would be a futile exercise.
Justifying political obligation for individuals who are not engaged in social relationships of the type we are normally engaged with would be pointless, as it would not help us in establishing anything interesting about the justification of political obligation for people like us, who normally do engage in this kind of relationships. Associativists however are right in pointing out that one of the most important social relationships that we find ourselves engaging with since the moment we are born is the relationship with our political community.
Thus it would be a mistake to leave this element out of the picture, as voluntarist theories do. This is the important methodological lesson that the associative view teaches us about how to understand the task of justifying political obligation. Since our own identity is importantly determined by our being born within a specific political community, we should think about the problem of political obligation by starting with individuals that are born within a net of relationships which include their relationships within the political community.
Political Obligation (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Of course this is the beginning, not the end, of the story. We must then go on and ask whether these relationships ground political obligations by asking if they have actually been endorsed. But where we start is important: starting with abstract individuals existing in some kind of state of nature, and then asking whether they have any reason to get into the relationships typical of political communities simply misrepresents the way in which most individuals are related to their polity. Notice that this is not to shift the burden of proof onto those who wish to argue that the authority of the state is in need of justification.
The model I am advancing firmly places the burden of proof on those who claim that the authority of the state is justified. Although we find ourselves in the position of having to endorse or reject our membership in the political community when we are already treated as members of a political community, this does not mean that such treatment does not need to be justified. Quite the opposite, my position is precisely that only when such membership is endorsed, can this treatment be said to be justified.
I have argued that the subjective component of the associative argument plays a larger role than acknowledged by Horton: it is only to the extent that we identify with our political community that we acquire political obligation. But what if the identification is the result of indoctrination and manipulation? What happens in the case of those who are manipulated to endorse their membership in the polity?
Do they acquire a duty, although only prima facie, to obey and support the state? A genuine identification with a role requires that we have not been brainwashed into endorsing it, for whatever sense of belonging created by indoctrination cannot but lack the appropriate connection between our identity and the role.