W kwestii nieposłuszeństwa obywatelskiego

Małgorzata Bogaczyk-Vormayr


About the Civil Disobedience


This paper presents the concept of civil disobedience understood as a moral, public, and collective act of solidarity. The reminder of the paper is organized in three parts. First, the author analyses some classical philosophical thesis that are essential for a positive argument of disobedience: Civil disobedience should be a critique and negation of the in just interpretation of law, not a negation of the law (the idea of law) itself. In order to accomplish this goal, the author draws on Socrates’ explication about Law versus Justice, Aristotelian notion of megalopsychia, and Kant’s ideas of human dignity and an autonomous will. This analysis provides grounds for the idea that civil disobedience serves to protect and realize values, and thus it means taking (care) of law. In other words, such notion of civil disobedience means taking law (e.g. the power of decision and exercise) away from institutions and persons that interpret and exercise law in the unjust way. The second part of this paper pertains to acts of civil disobedience. After presenting three examples of disobedience that are representative of the twentieth century (Transvaal 1907–1913; Sicily 1952–1962; Philippines in February 1986), the author formulates principles of civil disobedience. This perspective allows her to call a disobedience act a rebellion of conscience (following the work of Józef Tischner). The third part consists of a polemic with John Rawls’ definition and criticism of civil disobedience. The author uses Rawls’ notion of fairness to show that civil disobedience, can be seen as fairness in the public sphere.

Keywords: civil disobedience, justice, law, megalopsychia, human dignity, solidarity, rebellion of conscience, fairness.

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