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In his new book Why Should We Obey the Law? (Polity Press, 2018), George Klosko, the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, has provided an introduction to the competing theories behind why people should obey the law. What Klosko refers to as “political obligations” exist in all societies, but he seeks to reveal the different justifications for such obligations in modern liberal democracies and republics. He reviews the reasons behind theories such as consent, consequentialism, and fairness, all of which have specific inadequacies for justifying broad, society-wide political obligations. Klosko also reviews his own preferred theory: multiple-principle theory, which he describes as a common-sensical approach to why we should obey the law.
Ian J. Drake is Associate Professor of Jurisprudence, Montclair State University.
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