Associative Political Obligation as Community Integrity

Journal of Value Inquiry 49 (1-2):267-279 (2015)
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IntroductionAssociative theories of political obligation offer a fresh alternative to approaches such as social contract theory, fair play, and the natural duty of justice. Few suggestions in ethics are more intuitive than the idea that we have special obligations to our family and friends, just in virtue of our relationships with them, and it is reasonable that obligations to political society are also grounded through association.A basic question for associative theories is to explain how associations give rise to obligation, but here there is a common error. Many associative theorists and their critics take this question to be equivalent to the question: what distinguishes associations that are morally acceptable from those that are not? The assumption is that associations which are morally acceptable are those that give rise to obligations. However, this assumption is wrong in two ways. Associations that have some unacceptable features may still give rise to obl ..
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