Philosophical Studies 169 (3):467-488 (2014)

I offer a new account of fair-play obligations for non-excludable benefits received from the state. Firstly, I argue that non-acceptance of these benefits frees recipients of fairness obligations only when a counterfactual condition is met; i.e. when non-acceptance would hold up in the closest possible world in which recipients do not hold motivationally-biased beliefs triggered by a desire to free-ride. Secondly, I argue that because of common mechanisms of self-deception there will be recipients who reject these benefits without meeting the counterfactual condition. For this reason, I suggest that those who reject non-excludable benefits provided by the state have a duty to support their rejection with adequate reasons. Failing that, they can be permissibly treated as if they had fair-play obligations (although in fact they might not have them). Thus, I claim that there is a distinction, largely unappreciated, between the question of whether we have a duty of fairness to obey the law and the question of whether we can be permissibly treated as if we had one
Keywords Fair-play  Political obligation  Legitimacy  Presumptive benefits  Non-excludable goods  Self-deception
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-013-0203-x
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References found in this work BETA

Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Blackwell.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
Are There Any Natural Rights?H. L. A. Hart - 1955 - Philosophical Review 64 (2):175-191.
The Realm of Rights.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1990 - Harvard University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Fairness, Free-Riding and Rainforest Protection.Chris Armstrong - 2016 - Political Theory 44 (1):106-130.
Rethinking the Principle of Fair Play.Justin Tosi - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (4):612-631.

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