Law, Obey and Disobedience

Law, the Obligation to Obey, and Disobedience
In this course, we will examine the duty to obey the law and its limits, as well as its relevance to pressing issues of social justice. The question of political obligation has long occupied political and legal philosophers and we will begin our exploration with Plato and the Enlightenment thinkers Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Hume. We will then turn to the contemporary debate, beginning with the agenda-setting philosophical anarchism of Robert Paul Wolff and Joseph Raz, before exploring and assessing a variety of positions defending political obligation revolving around consent, fairness, and community membership. Finally, we will turn to the relevance of the duty to obey the law to current debates about racial justice and poverty.

John Oberdiek '95 is a professor of law and philosophy at Rutgers University./
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PHIL 1075

All Sections in Winter 2025

Winter 2025