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21 Rutgers L. Rev. 1 (1966-1967)
Civil Disobedience and the Law

handle is hein.journals/rutlr21 and id is 7 raw text is: RUTGERS
LAW REVIEW

VOLUME 21                   FALL, 1966                    NUMBER 1
CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE AND THE LAW
Questions regarding the ethics of civil disobedience in a democratic
society have long perplexed academicians. In an effort to shed some
light on this question, the Editors have invited three distinguished
scholars to express their views.
CARL COHEN*
I. INTRODUCTORY NOTES
1.1 There are at least two good reasons for undertaking a careful
analysis of civil disobedience and the arguments which pertain to its
justifiability.
1.11 First, the practice of civil disobedience raises profound
theoretical questions regarding the nature of the obligation owed
by a citizen to his state, and the limits of that obligation. Final
answers are not to be expected, but by dealing with these ques-
tions in the context of concrete and contemporary events, a clearer
understanding of some fundamental issues in political and legal
theory may be attained.
1.12 Second, the problems arising out of civil disobedience are
more than theoretically interesting; they directly concern the con-
duct of ordinary citizens. They bear upon acts which any one of
us may someday feel obliged to perform, and affect our evaluation
of the conduct of others. In all of these matters it is important
that we make sound judgments, both moral and legal. The emo-
tional impact of many recent civilly disobedient protests may dis-
Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Michigan; A.B., University of Miami
(Fla.), 1951; M.A., University of Illinois, 1952; Ph.D., University of California at Los
Angeles, 1955.

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