Obligations, social emotions, and social contracts

TitleObligations, social emotions, and social contracts
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsHuoranszki, F.
Journal titleFilosofija. Sociologija

This paper has two aims. First, it raises the issue whether and how contractarian political theory can justify political obligations toward some particular political authority. Second, it attempts to draw some brief conclusion from this regarding the prospect of Europe as a political community. The paper argues that there is a common assumption to almost all contemporary versions of contractarian political theory which must be dropped in order to make room for the contractarian justification of such obligations. The assumption of mutual unconcern seems to make it impossible for such theories to rationally justify particular obligations towards a particular political authority. I suggest that this limitation can be theoretically overcome. But I also suggest that the feeling of mutual concern of citizens towards each other is a necessary condition of their rationally justifiable obligations towards the decisions of a political authority. The developmentof this social emotion is a precondition of Europe as a political community.


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Department of Philosophy