Tutorial, Fall 2001 - Siegel

Authority, Obligation, and Disobedience

Below is a list of topics. We'll get through as much of it as we can. We will make sure to cover at least one reading from each of the three sections: Anarchism, Hobbes, and Disobedience.

I. Philosophical Anarchism

1. The challenge to political philosophy

Wolff, In Defense of Anarchism (1998 edition)

Both Prefaces

Chapter 1

Chapter 2.1, 2.2.

Chapter 3

II. Hobbes

2. Hobbes, Leviathan: Why is the state of nature a state of war?

Ch. 13

Ch. 5.1-5.3 (pp. 22-3)

Ch. 6.41 (p. 32, definition of "vainglory")

Ch. 8.13-8.19 (pp. 40-42)

Ch. 10.1-10.3, 10.16-10.34 (pp.50, 51-53)

3. Hobbes, Leviathan: Reasoning your way out of the state of nature: justification for authorizing the absolute sovereign

Ch. 14

Ch. 16.1-16.10 (pp. 101-103 on authority and authorization)

Ch. 17

Ch. 18

4. What can the absolute sovereign obligate its subjects to do?

(a) M.Walzer "The Obligation to Die for the State" in Obligations

(b) What would Hobbes say about the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)?

Hobbes, Leviathan

Ch. 21

Ch. 27

III. Disobedience

5. Disobedience: civil and otherwise; violence

(a) CD in the "well-ordered society"

J. Rawls, "The Justification of Civil Disobedience"

(b) Violence

J. Morreall, "The Justifiability of Violent Disobedience"

Interview with John Sellars from New Left Review

(c) Philosophy and history

D. Lyons, "Moral Judgement, Historical Reality, and Civil Disobedience"


For the first five weeks, one person each week will be responsible for writing a 3-4 page paper (it can be single spaced or double-spaced, as you wish) addressed to the week's readings and distributed to everyone in the tutorial by 5pm the day before our weekly meeting. We'll call these "seminar papers". Your seminar paper can be addressed to whatever aspects of the readings you think are most important. When it's your turn to write the paper, you will be responsible for presenting the paper to the tutorial. You can do this by reading it aloud, or by using it as a guide to a more extemporaneous presentation. Either way, our discussion that week will consist in interruptions of your presentation and the discussions that begin therefrom.

After each of you has presented one seminar paper, we will continue with the system whereby each week, one of you will be responsible for beginning discussion. You can fulfill this responsibility by producing and distributing an additional seminar paper, but this is not necessary. It's enough if you simply come to class prepared to make some remarks about the parts of the reading you found important, to pose questions about it to the rest of us, and to share with us your ideas about how your own questions might be answered.

Besides seminar papers, the remaining written requirements will be these: one 5-page paper, roughly 3 pages of which is purely expository, and one 7-page paper, roughly 3 pages of which is purely expository. If you choose to write a second seminar paper, this can replace the 5-page paper.

You are encouraged to discuss the reading and your papers with one another outside of class. By reading and commenting on each other's papers, you will improve your prose, your thinking and your life in general.

The heart of the tutorial will be your preparation of questions, answers, and seminar papers. For this reason, I'd like you to pay special attention to the other students in the seminar: do whatever you can to make it as easy and as appealing as possible for all the tutees to participate in our discussions.