John Simmons Research Paper

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As we grow up in society, we are taught at a very young age to follow the law. Some follow the law because a higher authority has dictated it, while others obey it based on a moral obligation to do so. A. John Simmons would agree with the first. Why do we comply with the rules of society even if we do not believe in the reasoning behind it? In this paper I will establish the two possible stances on moral obligation based off of the arguments made by Simmons and his critics and further conclude with my own opinion. Similar to my own belief, John Simmons argues that people do not have a moral obligation to follow the law. He believes that people follow the law simply because it is the law. As humans, two of the first concepts we learn are the…show more content…
He feels that we have a moral obligation to obey the laws regulated by the government, not for our own benefit, but for the benefit of others. Wellman argues that it is impossible for the people in society to have flourishing lives without the legally binding laws – that if someone breaks a law, it is not only affecting their life, but all the other lives in society. He theorizes that we have moral obligation, not to ourselves, but to the rest of society, to ensure that we do not jeopardize the potentially “meaningful and rewarding” lives of those around us. This also means that when others follow these rules, it is preserving our “moral rights “. Additionally, Wellman states that we also are morally obligated to obey the rules of the government because it is only fair, seeing as they provide us with many benefits. The government provides us with protection from societies that do not have the same obligations and rules, therefore shielding us from war, despair and dictatorship. Furthermore, they also provide us with public transport, financial security post-retirement, and keeping our country up-to-date in terms of development and technology. Wellman believes that because we so willingly take these benefits that we should feel that it is only fair (moral obligation) to reciprocate with obeying their rules. Simmons objects to this when he states that we do not have an obligation to this because we did not consent to these obligations, as well as the fact that because it is not directly affecting us, we are not going to see the obligation in

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