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Playing Fair and Following the Rules

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In his paper “Fairness, Political Obligation, and the Justificatory Gap” (published in the Journal of Moral Philosophy), Jiafeng Zhu argues that the principle of fair play cannot require submission to the rules of a cooperative scheme, and that when such submission is required, the requirement is grounded in consent. I propose a better argument for the claim that fair play requires submission to the rules than the one Zhu considers. I also argue that Zhu’s attribution of consent to people commonly thought to be bound to follow the rules by a duty of fair play is implausible.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy, University of Michigan,


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