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A Theory of Political ObligationMembership, Commitment, and the Bonds of Society$
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Margaret Gilbert

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199274956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199274959.001.0001

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Summary and Prospect

Summary and Prospect

(p.287) 12 Summary and Prospect
A Theory of Political Obligation

Margaret Gilbert (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The book’s argument is summarized and its conclusions are brought to hear on two classic situations of crisis: Socrates awaiting the death penalty in prison, and Antigone in her conflict with the ruler of her political society, Creon. Emphasis is given to the point that though obligations of joint commitment are absolute in the sense discussed, and supersede one’s personal inclinations and self-interest as such, it is possible for other considerations to ‘trump’ them. Antigone believed there were such considerations in her case; Socrates seems not to have thought so. A number of avenues for further empirical investigation and moral inquiry are noted.

Keywords:   Antigone, death penalty, empirical investigation, moral inquiry, plural subject theory, political obligation, political society, ruler, self-interest, Socrates

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