Why Should We Obey the Law?
Why Should We Obey the Law?

Whether we should obey the law is a question that affects everyone’s day-to-day life, from traffic laws to taxes. Most people obey out of habit, but the question remains: why are we morally required to do so? If we fail to obey, the state may enforce compliance, but is it right for it to do this, and if so, why?

In this book, George Klosko, a renowned authority on political obligation, skillfully probes these questions.  He considers various prominent theories of obligation and shows why they are unconvincing, contending that only an approach that interweaves multiple principles, rooted in "fair play," is fully persuasive.

Klosko develops the fullest statement of his own well-known theory of political obligation while providing a clear overview of the subject.  The result is both an essential introductory text for students of political theory and philosophy and a cutting-edge, original contribution to the debate.

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  • December 2018
  • 140 pages
  • 127 x 193 mm / 5 x 8 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $57.95
  • 9781509521203
  • Paperback $12.95
  • 9781509521210
  • Open eBook $10.99
  • 9781509521241
Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Consent Theory

Chapter 3: The Principle of Fair Play

Chapter 4: Multiple Principle Theory

Chapter 5: Limits of Political Obligation


About the Author
George Klosko is the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. 
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“George Klosko brings us quickly up to speed on this perennial question, and compellingly vindicates the commonsense view that, yes, we do have a duty to obey the law.”
William A. Edmundson, Georgia State University College of Law

“This remarkably compact book is laudable both as an insightful survey of the debates surrounding political obligation and as a refinement of Klosko's important multiple-principle (but fairness-based) argument for the obligation to obey the law.”
Richard Dagger, University of Richmond

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