Fairness and political obligation

South African Journal of Philosophy 23 (3):282-291 (2004)
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In this paper I offer a limited defence of “fairness” or “fair play” arguments for political obligation by focussing on one important critique of such arguments, that offered by A. John Simmons. I isolate Simmons's concentration on the idea of “accepting” benefits and argue that, among other difficulties, his criteria for when we can be said to accept a benefit from our political communities are too restrictive. While the scope of the discussion is narrow, I try to sketch ways in which the failings of Simmons's critique are symptomatic of deeper problems with his libertarian approach. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.23(3) 2004: 282-291



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Brian Penrose
Last affiliation: University of Witwatersrand

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