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Posc 448A Midterm (1)

Posc 448A Midterm (1) - Rowland 1 Weston C Rowland...

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Rowland 1 Weston C. Rowland (9443-89-2271) Professor Andrei Marmor Phil 430 10/11/2010 Part I Dworkin’s Argument Dworkin’s claim, in its most reduced format, is seductively simple. His thesis is that members of a group, by way of their membership, have a moral obligation to obey the norms of that group. Dworkin calls these types of obligations associative, that is, obligations one holds by association. The most immediate and accessible example of an associative obligation is that of the family or neighbors; the family is an group to which one belongs not usually out of consent but as a result of genetic, historical and geographical condition. Family and neighbors are a fantastic example because they have the appropriate kind of reciprocity, in the sense that on average the families and neighbors often have “a diffuse sense of members’ special rights and responsibilities from or toward one and other” without any written or formal contract (Dworkin 199). Reciprocity is therefore necessary for an associative obligation however it is not sufficient. Dworkin gives four conditions for responsibilities to count as “genuine fraternal obligations” 1. The group should see its obligations as “special” to that group (rules only apply to members) 2. The obligations are personal; Tom has a requirement to be neighborly to Dick instead of all neighbors of a given area being (as a group ) neighborly to another area 3. Members must see their responsibilities as arising out of concern for one and other 4. All members must experience equal concern (Dworkin 199 -201) Dworkin uses the term “bare” to describe all communities which a common genetic, geographic or historic condition identify it as a fraternal community and he uses the term “true” for all communities which meet the bare criteria plus the four conditions stated above.
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Rowland 2 Dworkin point is that if a group is both “bare” as well as “true” and membership is not compulsory then there is an associative obligation to perform the set norms of that group. It is this argument that provides the framework for his next assertion mainly that associative obligations are at the foundation of political obligations. This does not mean that one obeys the law because he respects his neighbor; it means that as well as having associative obligations to ones neighbor we have associative obligations to our political community. In this sense a “political obligation—including an obligation to obey the law—is a form of associative
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