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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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Reconsidering Actual Contract Theory

Reconsidering Actual Contract Theory

Chapter:
(p.215) 10 Reconsidering Actual Contract Theory
Source:
A Theory of Political Obligation
Author(s):

Margaret Gilbert (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199274959.003.0010

The actual contract theory of political obligation is reconsidered in light of a plural subject account of agreements. Given the proposed account of agreements, both immoral and coerced agreements are possible and obligate the parties. The obligation in question is not a moral requirement deriving from a general moral principle, it is an obligation of joint commitment as discussed in Chapter 7. Actual contract theory can thus be defended against the no-obligation objection construed in terms of obligation simply; the no-agreement objection remains. Plural subject theory avoids both objections and is therefore to be preferred.

Keywords:   actual contract theory, agreements, coerced agreements, immoral agreements, obligation, political obligation, plural subject theory, moral requirement

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