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A Theory of Political Obligation


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Table of Contents

I. A central problem of political obligation 1: The problem 2: Obligations: initial points 3: In pursuit of political obligation 4: Actual contract theory: attractions 5: Actual contract theory: objections II. Societies, membership, and obligation 6: Social groups: starting small 7: Joint commitment and obligation 8: Societies as plural subjects III. A theory of political obligation 9: Political societies 10: Reconsidering actual contract theory 11: The plural subject theory of political obligation 12: Summary and prospect

About the Author

Margaret Gilbert is Professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. Educated at Cambridge and Oxford Universities she has held visiting positions as teacher and researcher at numerous institutions including Princeton University, UCLA, the Institute for Advanced Study, Oxford University and King's College London. Her previous books are On Social Facts (1989), Living Together (1996), Sociality and Responsibility (2000), and (in French) Marcher Ensemble.


`Review from previous edition Does membership in a political society, in and of itself, involve obligations to uphold that society's political institutions? Margaret Gilbert offers a novel argument in defense of an affirmative answer to this question . . . As a renewed and improved defense of two historical accounts rarely given much credence today, namely an argument by appeal to conceptual analysis and an argument by appeal to actual consent, Gilbert's book deserves the attention of all those concerned with the topic of political obligation. Moreover, given her intriguing analysis of a wide range of social phenomena, including promises and agreements, Gilbert's book merits the attention of a wider audience as well.' David Lefkowitz, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

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