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Community, Identity And Attribution

Posted on:2014-02-22Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:Y DingFull Text:PDF
GTID:1106330434473198Subject:Political Theory
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
The theory of associative obligations is a new political obligation doctrine which arose in the1980s. Unlike some previous and dominant doctrines such as the consent theory, the fair play theory and the natural duty theory, associative obligations theorists hold that, based on some social roles that they occupy, members of a political community are obligated to obey the law which is made by their state. In other words, according to this theory, the political obligations which members have, in fact, derive from their inherent political membership which is defined by some local social practices. In this sense, political obligation is neither a voluntary obligation nor a natural duty, but one involuntary obligation between the two kinds of moral requirement mentioned above. Built on this understanding, this paper dedicates to a comprehensive and systematic analysis of associative obligation theory.By and large, in this paper, the author mainly singles out five characteristic associative obligations theorists (i.e. Margaret Gilbert, Ronald Dworkin, John Horton, Yael Tamir and Michael Hardimon). In investigating their thoughts, the author divides three approaches:Based on John Simmons’s classical classification, Margaret Gilbert is the representative personage of nonvoluntarist contract theory, Ronald Dworkin is the pioneer of associative obligation theory who relies on some version of normative independence thesis that local social practices ground, and, John Horton, Yael Tamir and Michael Hardimon are commonly seen as some proponents of identity thesis. Therefore, the elucidation, analysis and evaluation of the above five scholars’specific argument constitute the main part of this paper.The author argues that the three above approaches to justify associative political obligations are all more or less defective. Firstly, because Gilbert’s nonvoluntarist contract theory (that is, her plural subjects theory) can only defend a joint commitment-based obligation which is distinct from moral obligation, and, at the same time, cannot give a reasonable interpretation of population common knowledge problem in the morden state, this entails Gilbert’s theory cannot justify the political obligation in the normal sense. Secondly, Dworkin’s attempt to justify associative political obligations is doomed to fail because of his highly reliance on the integrity or equality. Accordingly, his theory not only cannot meet the’particularity’standard which a successful political obligation theory must have, but cannot justify the normative independence thesis itself. Thirdly, in comparison with Gilbert and Dworkin, Although some communitarian political obligation theories that are grounded by identity thesis have a more chance to success, since they cannot respond to the manipulation objection, the evil group membership objection and the would-be independents objection, therefore, like Dworkin, Horton et al. also failed to justify the normative independence thesis.Based on the above understanding and critique, in combination with several other associative obligations theorists (such as Andrew Oldenquist, Samuel Scheffler, Massimo Renzo and so on), the author defends one version of communitarian associative political obligation theory, that is, one reformist identity thesis:a reflective acceptable role argument founded on the self-understand ing. After evaluation, the author argues that this new approach to justify the associative political obligation is successful to a large extent, for it can give an effective response to the manipulation objection, the evil group membership objection and the would-be independents objection. At the same time, the theory does not necessarily incompatible with individual’s autonomy. On the contrary, the theory is a quasi-voluntarist political obligation theory:on the one side, it adheres to a thick notion of political membership; on the other side, it allows the role occupiers to reflect and evaluate their roles in a suitable way.In conclusion, the author in the paper aims to challenge one popular and dominant view of institutional obligation that institutional obligation in itself has no moral force. The author holds that some institutional obligations which attach to some social roles such as sons and daughters or citizens in and of themselves have moral force whose source cannot be explained by some external moral principles such as promise or gratitude. Conversely, these roles can attribute some reasons that worth valuing, reasons that are reflective acceptable during the agent’s actual reflection.
Keywords/Search Tags:Political Obligations, Membership, Normative Independence Thesis, Identity Thesis
PDF Full Text Request
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