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Civil Disobedience

  1. Jeffrey Brand

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee540

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics

How to Cite

Brand, J. 2013. Civil Disobedience. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013


Civil disobedience is a form of civil resistance involving deliberate lawbreaking under special conditions. Defining “civil disobedience” has proven controversial, although there are widely recognized paradigm cases (see below). Civil disobedience raises many philosophical questions. This essay addresses two. First, what is it? Second, under what conditions, if any, is it morally justified?


  • law;
  • legal and political;
  • practical (applied) ethics;
  • authority;
  • autonomy;
  • civil rights;
  • duty and obligation;
  • justice;
  • minorities;
  • state