Fairness, Political Obligation, and the Justificatory Gap

Journal of Moral Philosophy (4):1-23 (2014)

Jiafeng Zhu
East China Normal University
The moral principle of fairness or fair play is widely believed to be a solid ground for political obligation, i.e., a general prima facie moral duty to obey the law qua law. In this article, I advance a new and, more importantly, principled objection to fairness theories of political obligation by revealing and defending a justificatory gap between the principle of fairness and political obligation: the duty of fairness on its own is incapable of preempting the citizen‟s liberty to reciprocate fairly in ways other than obeying the law. This justificatory gap is unaffected by the ongoing debate between the voluntarist and the nonvoluntarist accounts of fairness, and it cannot be bridged by the two arguments that are perhaps implicit in Klosko‟s account, namely the presumptive benefits argument and the democratic procedure argument.
Keywords Klosko  Presumptive Benefits  Political Obligation  Simmons  The Duty of Fairness
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1163/17455243-4681047
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 39,566
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Playing Fair and Following the Rules.Justin Tosi - 2017 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (2):134-141.
Rethinking the Principle of Fair Play.Justin Tosi - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 4 (99):612-631.
Fair-Play Obligations and Distributive Injustice.Göran Duus-Otterström - forthcoming - European Journal of Political Theory:147488511877862.
Punishment, Fair Play and the Burdens of Citizenship.Piero Moraro - 2019 - Law and Philosophy 38 (3):289-311.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Political Obligations.George Klosko - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
Presumptive Benefit, Fairness, and Political Obligation.George Klosko - 1987 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 16 (3):241-259.
Stakeholder Theory and A Principle of Fairness.Robert A. Phillips - 1997 - Business Ethics Quarterly 7 (1):51-66.
What is Political About Political Obligation? A Neglected Lesson From Consent Theory.Dorota Mokrosińska - 2013 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 16 (1):88-108.


Added to PP index

Total views
260 ( #20,749 of 2,325,881 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #67,040 of 2,325,881 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature