Reconsidering the Actual Contract Theory of Political Obligation

Margaret P. Gilbert

University of California, Irvine

January 1999

Ethics: An International Journal of Social

Do people have obligations by virtue of the fact that a given country is their country? Actual contract theory says they do because they have agreed to act in certain ways. Contemporary philosophers standardly object in terms of the 'no agreement' objection and the 'not morally binding' objection. I argue that the 'not morally binding' objection is not conclusive. As for the 'no agreement' objection, though actual contract theory succumbs, a closely related plural subject theory of political obligation does not. Plural subject theory may be the truth in actual contract theory and should be explored in its stead.

Keywords: Contract, Ethics, Obligation, Politics

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Date posted: May 19, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Gilbert, Margaret P., Reconsidering the Actual Contract Theory of Political Obligation (January 1999). Ethics: An International Journal of Social. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1406813

Contact Information

Margaret P. Gilbert (Contact Author)
University of California, Irvine ( email )
Humanities Office Building
Irvine, CA 92697-4555
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.faculty.uci.edu/profile.cfm?faculty_id=5365
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