PT52.S4.Q26 -Anarchism and morality

zugamazt285zugamazt285 Monthly Member

I'm struggling to see how the "substantial" in answer choice D is justified. This AC does match the passage best when compared to the other choices, but it seems a little too strong to assume.

The question asks what's the function of the a phrase that states "people have a positive moral obligation". How in the world can I make the assumption that having a "positive moral obligation" = "substantial moral obligation"?


  • Lime Green DotLime Green Dot Monthly Member
    1338 karma

    Hi! I'm taking a look at this passage set now as a warm-up and will get back to you on it soon (if someone doesn't beat me to the punch!).

  • Lime Green DotLime Green Dot Monthly Member
    edited September 2021 1338 karma

    Okay, so I think we have to see it in the context of both the paragraph it appears in, as well as calling to mind what the author was defending against in the first paragraph.

    Let's start with the first paragraph reference as context:

    "(2) that, lacking any moral obligation to obey any laws, people may do as they please without scruple. In fact, however, PA does not entail these claims." (Lines 20-23)

    So far, we don't yet have evidence that 'positive moral duty' to necessarily be a 'significant' one, it's true. But look how the author continues to develop this point that s/he attributes to the PA:

    "And where others are abiding by established laws, even those laws derived from mere conventions, individuals are morally bound not to violate those laws when doing so would endanger others." (Lines 49-52)

    The fact that the statement is so strongly worded (not confined by 'may,' 'could,' or something similar, but strong by virtue of being purely declarative) and, we can infer, is coming from the PAs themselves (at least from the author's POV) is evidence that the duty of care is a significant one.

    We can also try the opposite test to see what the language might look like if PAs didn't think it was all that important. What if it had said, "...individuals might have some degree of moral obligation to not violate"? Or "in certain cases, where laws are clearly established to protect individuals against harm, individuals have a moral duty to consider the wellbeing of their fellow man/woman." Much more tepid phrases, and much easier to say the PAs didn't feel that strongly about this duty of care.

    Hope this helps! If anyone else would like to chime in, more the merrier!


    Edit: I think we can make do with just the latter assessment, minus the first paragraph reference, which I think we can say is useful only insofar as to give us the context of the author's defense of PA against critics.

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