Do we have an obligation to obey the law?

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blinkbelle
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This is the topic of my Law & Political Theory thesis, and I was wanting to get opinions on what your TSR'ians think about whether there is an obligation to obey the law (aka 'political obligation')?

Please justify your answer with a reason I just want to get an idea about the popularity of certain arguments before I begin research properly.

Personally, I believe there is a political obligation owed to fellow citizens because of the fair play theory; i.e. because we all live together in cooperative society we should respect each other and obey the laws because mutual adherence will lead to the most benefits for all.

xxx
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RawJoh1
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I am unsure. The most promising theory (imo) is George Klosko's variant of fair play theory. We discussed it here. I'm not sure if it is true though (used to think it was):
http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...o#post20507516
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Tombola
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Basic view. You wanted a rough idea, right?

Yes, because it's beneficial to do so. No, because we have the freedom to perform any action that doesn't violate natural laws of the universe, but obviously there will be effects with any actions we take. Some actions produce small rifts, others huge waves.
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Dorito
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No.

But if you don't you'll be punished, most peoples common sense prevails over any 'obligations'.
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danadd9
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As a moral framework, yes.
We rely more on our own moral conduct now, however; so as we progress socially, the less there will be a need for an obligation to the State (maybe the authority of the State won't even be necessary after a while).
(IMO) Only the morally 'undeveloped' need to obey the law, the developed should already be able to make rational decisions :dontknow:.
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DAFOne
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Hobbes - Social Contract + Governmental Contract:

We live in a society with other people and we accept our leaders - the reason that we accept our leaders is because we know that there would be chaos without them, thus we know that we need somebody to rule over us. Also because we live in a society with other people and we are treated with respect for the law that our leaders enact we also have (social contract) obligation to respect those rules and ensure that we all live in a civilized society.
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blinkbelle
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(Original post by RawJoh1)
I am unsure. The most promising theory (imo) is George Klosko's variant of fair play theory. We discussed it here. I'm not sure if it is true though (used to think it was):
http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...o#post20507516
Oo excellent! I have only read Rawls' theory of fair play so far so this is brilliant thanks

(Original post by danadd9)
As a moral framework, yes.
We rely more on our own moral conduct now, however; so as we progress socially, the less there will be a need for an obligation to the State (maybe the authority of the State won't even be necessary after a while).
(IMO) Only the morally 'undeveloped' need to obey the law, the developed should already be able to make rational decisions :dontknow:.
Very interesting (especially your last point). I think I will be exploring the idea of morality and its implications for this obligation to a great length in my thesis because I think its something that needs to be discussed.

Thanks for everyone's contributions so far, I really appreciate it :p:
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SunOfABeach
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No we dont'. I don't think for instance that I would feel obliged to follow the law in Soviet Union (if I was a Soviet citizen).
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beepbeeprichie
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(Original post by SunOfABeach)
No we dont'. I don't think for instance that I would feel obliged to follow the law in Soviet Union (if I was a Soviet citizen).
A duty to the obey the law is content-inspecific. You either have a duty to obey the law in any country or you don't.
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blinkbelle
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(Original post by tomheppy)
A duty to the obey the law is content-inspecific. You either have a duty to obey the law in any country or you don't.
This is true, however it is specifically whether a citizen has an obligation to obey the law in their country, to their state. xx
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SunOfABeach
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(Original post by tomheppy)
A duty to the obey the law is content-inspecific. You either have a duty to obey the law in any country or you don't.
Ok.

Check this out though,

Topic Question: Do we have an obligation to obey the law?

(Original post by SunOfABeach)
No we dont'.
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SunOfABeach
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(Original post by blinkbelle)
This is true, however it is specifically whether a citizen has an obligation to obey the law in their country, to their state. xx
No, not really. I mean, what if you move to China? do you have an obligation to obey their laws? I don't think so. And - vice versa - they don't have an obligation to obey our laws.
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beepbeeprichie
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(Original post by SunOfABeach)
Ok.

Check this out though,

Topic Question: Do we have an obligation to obey the law?
Well your answer regarding the Soviet Union is completely irrelevant to the question.
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blinkbelle
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(Original post by SunOfABeach)
No, not really.
Yes, really. That is the context of the question I'm asking.:confused:
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Gremlins
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Obviously you're compelled to obey the law in the sense that if you don't nasty things will happen to you, but I don't think there's a moral obligation to do something or not just because the state says so. Imagine if the government came out tomorrow and made a law compelling you to go out and kill a disabled toddler - would you be morally obliged to do it? Imagine if a thug with a gun pointed at you told you to do it - would you be morally obliged to do it then?
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IWantSomeMushu
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In theory yes, because it allows our society to function properly. However, in real life we all know that there are some stupid laws that don't deserve to be obeyed e.g. cannabis laws, copyright, etc...
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blinkbelle
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(Original post by Gremlins)
Obviously you're compelled to obey the law in the sense that if you don't nasty things will happen to you, but I don't think there's a moral obligation to do something or not just because the state says so. Imagine if the government came out tomorrow and made a law compelling you to go out and kill a disabled toddler - would you be morally obliged to do it? Imagine if a thug with a gun pointed at you told you to do it - would you be morally obliged to do it then?
That's what I'm asking...
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rajandkwameali
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(Original post by blinkbelle)
This is the topic of my Law & Political Theory thesis, and I was wanting to get opinions on what your TSR'ians think about whether there is an obligation to obey the law (aka 'political obligation')?

Please justify your answer with a reason I just want to get an idea about the popularity of certain arguments before I begin research properly.

Personally, I believe there is a political obligation owed to fellow citizens because of the fair play theory; i.e. because we all live together in cooperative society we should respect each other and obey the laws because mutual adherence will lead to the most benefits for all.

xxx
No, we don't.

We only do because we fear the consequences of not doing so.
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Unbiased Opinion
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Well, breaking (some) laws is taboo- I mean, I don't think the people I know would be thrilled if they find out I was a murderer. I think people tend to follow the laws that coincide with their morals (the "big" laws), but petty ones such as copyright aren't so much cared about, nor do they pose a massive punishment.

The law = Tinkerbell effect:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinkerbell_effect

Granted, there isn't much there, but it's still interesting stuffz.
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blinkbelle
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(Original post by Unbiased Opinion)
Well, breaking (some) laws is taboo- I mean, I don't think the people I know would be thrilled if they find out I was a murderer. I think people tend to follow the laws that coincide with their morals (the "big" laws), but petty ones such as copyright aren't so much cared about, nor do they pose a massive punishment.

The law = Tinkerbell effect:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinkerbell_effect

Granted, there isn't much there, but it's still interesting stuffz.
I will have a read of the article cited on Wiki about the 'Tinkerbell effect' - not sure its something I'd believe in though.

Your other comments are interesting though; that compliance with the law is dependent upon morality.

Where do you personally think morality comes from? Is it inherent within us when we are born, is it a learned/socialised behaviour? xx
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