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Summary

Arguments aimed at undermining certain accounts of the grounds of political obligations—no matter how successful they may be—fall far short of demonstrating that there are no such obligations. Doubts about the efficacy of these arguments in this latter regard seem even more justified when it is recognized that parallel lines of reasoning can be developed in the area of filial obligations (and probably obligations of friendship and others as well), which arguments provide rather less than conclusive reasons for denying that there are filial obligations (obligations of friendship, and so forth).

Furthermore, we have good reason to believe that there are political obligations if patriotism is a virtue, and also that patriotism is indeed a virtue. We therefore have a basis on which to affirm the existence of political obligations—a basis whose soundness is independent of the acceptability of particular accounts of the grounds of political obligation. Hence, even if standard accounts of the grounds of political obligations are problematic in certain respects, we should not regard this consideration as capable by itself of establishing that there are no such obligations.