Political Obligation Lectures

Published on 31 October 2017

SJ Beard delivered a series of lectures on the theme of Political Obligation to undergraduates in philosophy at the University of Cambridge.

Lecture 1: Classical Social Contract Theory

Lecture 1 outlined the nature of political obligation as a problem in political philosophy and considered the potential of classical social contract theory to solve it. Philosophers discussed include Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jaques Rousseau, Edmund Burke, Mary Wollstonecraft and David Hume.

Lecture 2: From Classical to Hypothetical Social Contract Theory

Lecture 2 explored David Hume's objections to classical social contract theory in more detail, distinguished between three different ways in which people can consent to a social contract and introduced the hypothetical social contract theory of John Rawls. Philosophers discussed include David Hume, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jaques Rousseau and John Rawls.

Lecture 3: Natural Duty and Fair Play Theories

Lecture 3 explored the Natural Duty and Fair Play justifications for our political obligations. Philosophers discussed include John Rawls, Anna Stiltz, Allan Buchanan, H. L. A. Hart and George Kloskow

Lecture 4: Anarchism

Lecture 4 explored Philosophical Anarchism - the view that we have no political obligation to obey the law. Philosophers discussed include William Godwin, Pyotr Kropotkin, Robert Wolff and John Simmons.

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