Ten-Herng Lai
University of Melbourne
A prominent way of justifying civil disobedience is to postulate a pro tanto duty to obey the law and to argue that the considerations that ground this duty sometimes justify forms of civil disobedience. However, this view entails that certain kinds of uncivil disobedience are also justified. Thus, either a) civil disobedience is never justified or b) uncivil disobedience is sometimes justified. Since a) is implausible, we should accept b). I respond to the objection that this ignores the fact that civil disobedience enjoys a special normative status on account of instantiating certain special features: nonviolence, publicity, the acceptance of legal consequences, and conscientiousness. I then show that my view is superior to two rivals: the view that we should expand the notion of civility and that civil disobedience, expansively construed, is uniquely appropriate; and the view that uncivil disobedience is justifiable in but only in unfavorable conditions.
Keywords duty to obey the law  civil disobedience  uncivil disobedience  violence
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References found in this work BETA

Taking Rights Seriously.Ronald Dworkin (ed.) - 1977 - Duckworth.
The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Philosophy 63 (243):119-122.
Killing in War.Jeff McMahan - 2009 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Civil Disobedience.Kimberley Brownlee & Candice Delmas - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Civil Disobedience, Costly Signals, and Leveraging Injustice.Ten-Herng Lai - 2020 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 7:1083-1108.
Why Not Uncivil Disobedience?William E. Scheuerman - 2019 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-20.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

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