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Political Obligations$
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George Klosko

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256204

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199256209.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 September 2021

Political Obligation and the Natural Duties of Justice

Political Obligation and the Natural Duties of Justice

(p.75) 4 Political Obligation and the Natural Duties of Justice
Political Obligations

George Klosko (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In recent years, certain theorists, most notably John Rawls, have attempted to establish general political obligations based on so-called ‘natural duties of justice’. However, because natural duties are of limited force, they cannot ground political obligations, which may well require significant sacrifice. Natural duty theories confront a dilemma: either they will not be sufficiently strong to ground obligations, or if they are, they will not be ‘natural’ duties. In A Theory of Justice, Rawls's argument for a natural duty to support the state is flawed by running together arguments from behind and outside the veil of ignorance. Properly developed, behind the veil of ignorance, such a natural duty to support the state would be seen to be actually a variant of the principle of fairness. Because natural duties cannot establish adequate theories on their own, they can play a role in theories of political obligation only by working in conjunction with other principles.

Keywords:   natural duties of justice, political obligations, public goods, Rawls, samaritanism, veil of ignorance, Wellman

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