Berkeley's Passive Obedience: the logic of loyalty

Tutkimustuotos: ArtikkelijulkaisuArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu


Berkeley argues in Passive Obedience that what he calls morality is based on the divine laws of nature, which God gave us and whose validity is like that of the principles of geometry. One of these laws is the categorical demand for loyalty to the supreme political power. This is to say, rebellious action is strictly impermissible and passive obedience is morally required: we may disobey but only in terms of action omission and then we must accept the penalty or punishment. This paper clarifies the logic of Berkeley's argument and evaluates the acceptability of his results, especially when he considers possible exceptions in the case of a tyrant, usurper, and mad prince. What should one do? We may 'sit still and pray for better times' and think of the day of divine judgement; is this enough when a citizen is under a tyrannical political rule? Can we trust the good will of magistrates, or expect God's help? Berkeley speaks of your moral duty to supreme power but in the last part of his treatise he also mentions the possibility of two competing princes, or no supreme power.
LehtiHistory of European Ideas
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - tammikuuta 2021
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä, vertaisarvioitu


One of a series of projected papers on Passive Obedience (Berkeley)


  • 611 Filosofia

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