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Hobbe's notion of political obligation - Essay Example

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Name 1 November 2011 Assignment One of the greatest English political philosophers, Thomas Hobbes, was the mind behind the Leviathan in 1651, against the backdrop of the English civil war. Leviathan means sea monster, and Hobbes’ magnum opus postulated the theory of social contract of the state according to which people came together to form a state ruled by a single sovereign authority…
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Hobbes notion of political obligation
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Hobbe's notion of political obligation

Download file to see previous pages... A proper insight into Hobbes’ concept of political obligation or the moral conduct that every individual must have towards political order has been provided within the scope of this paper. Every man has a moral duty to obey the laws of the land that he is bound by; this is the concept of political obligation. According to Hobbes, individuals came together in the form of a social contract in order to live in a civil society in a sophisticated manner. Hobbes presented this state of nature in the backdrop of the American Civil War in 1651 where life was brutish, poor, nasty, solitary and hellish for every man. Thus, he postulated the theory of a sovereign central power being there to guide everyone and provide them with certain rights and duties at the same time. Political duty has been said to be one of man’s main obligations; something that he is bound to follow and carry out in order to serve the State. Political obligation is thus an obligation or a duty that every citizen belonging to a State has, to follow the law and live by the rules that have been laid down in the land. Anyone who has an obligation to obey the law thus has a moral duty to discharge, at least when there are no overriding moral considerations that justify disobedience. Obligation may differ from a duty or a sense of morality to be exact in a number of ways, the most simple of the reasons being that obligation is a compulsion or a ‘moral’ right of a man to carry out a duty. For Hobbes, the social contract theory meant that every man would have his own rights and powers and freedom and would not be restricted by others living within the same society. However, he would have to follow the sovereign authority of the state and would be obligated to derive and obey the law from the consent of the governing body. This raises a fundamental question in the minds of most political philosophers, “Why should we obey the government, and when, if ever, do we have the right not to? “The rational necessity of renouncing our rights and investing them in an all-powerful sovereign, he concludes that our obligation to obey such a sovereign is absolute, right up to the moment when he actually attempts our destruction.” (Duff, Konstancja) As per the laws of nature, Hobbes stated that if a man desired his own preservation in the eyes of the State then he must act according to the rules that were laid down by the sovereign powers. He writes that the judgement that the sovereign authority passes is maintained as the trump card or the deciding factor for everything that takes place within the State. Thus, following the same concept, political obligation recognises the same and as per this private normative judgements of the people might never be taken into account. Disobedience of the law of the land may only be taken into account when a person’s life is in immediate threat or danger. Political obligation in simple terms only refers to a civic duty that every citizen possesses. Hobbes maintained the fact that it was important to obey the rules and regulations laid down or dictated by anyone trying to maintain political order as a part of political obligation of a person. Such tyranny made people unhappy and uneasy to follow. He was opposed by political philosophers like John Locke for stating his version of political ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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