Delmas, Candice. A Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pp. 312. $29.95 [Book Review]

Ethics 129 (4):710-715 (2019)
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Delmas successfully guides us to reconsider the traditional “wisdom” of civil disobedience. She also makes a strong case for expanding the notion of political obligation, which has been narrowly construed as mere obedience, to encompass a duty to resist. Principled disobedience, either civil or uncivil, includes a wide range of tools to tackle different forms of injustice, such as education campaigns, peaceful protests, graffiti street art, whistleblowing, vigilante self-defense, and political riots. We may question to what extent the violent disobedience can be justified, as it is always good to be careful about violence that risks harming the innocent, but other forms of civil or uncivil disobedience may rightly be demanded in realistic circumstances. As I see it, these, along with the general warning to not unwittingly serve the status quo by dismissing social movements merely because of “incivility” and the proposal of the civic virtues of vigilance and open-mindedness, are significant contributions to the literature and could also benefit a politically interested general audience greatly.

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Ten-Herng Lai
University of Stirling

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