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Associative Political Obligations: Their Potential



This article adopts the framework set out in ‘Associative Political Obligations’ to ask two further questions about the theory of associative political obligation. (i) Which of the different interpretations of the theory of associative political obligation is most plausible? And (ii) what would be the implications of such a view? It is argued that (i) the most attractive version of the argument is one according to which such obligations obtain only in morally acceptable communities, and only between what may be called ‘thick’ members. And (ii) that such a theory should give up on at least some of the conclusions that associativist theorists have tried to defend, such as that associative political obligations can establish the legitimacy of states. However, it is also suggested that this should not be considered a regrettable retreat.