PHIL 240 Justifying the State - Civil Disobedience

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27 Sep 2011
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Civil Disobedience
Contrary to the idea that there is a moral duty to obey all the laws of the land.
Contrasted to revolutionarism, which seeks grand immediate changes, as civil
disobedience seeks small immediate changes. This means that civil disobedience
can be utilized in an overarching revolutionary narrative (Ghandi, etc.)
Contrasted to conscientious objection, which is based on personal motivations
Civil Disobedience: deliberate, principled illegal conduct with a limited,
immediate public and political aim
Two suppositions derived from the definition:
1) Action must be based on moral judgements
2) Action must be contrary to laws of the State
Example: if I break a law that I hold to actually not be a law (constitutional appeal,
for example), that's not civil disobedience
If I break a law that is not enforced, that's not civil disobedience
If I
What if I base an immediate public aim on a personal moral judgement?
What if I break the law anonymously to evade punishment?
Justifications:
Civil disobedience is justified if:
if likely to produce beneficial social change
However, the likelihood of success doesn't diminish the moral good of the issue
itself
it is the last resort
However, other methods (legal, institutional) may take too long to timely resolve
an urgent injustice
Reasons to obey the Law
1) Natural Duty
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