Res Publica

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 259–275

Punishment as Fair Play


DOI: 10.1007/s11158-008-9071-1

Cite this article as:
Dagger, R. Res Publica (2008) 14: 259. doi:10.1007/s11158-008-9071-1


This article defends the fair-play theory of legal punishment against three objections. The first, the irrelevance objection, is the long-standing complaint that fair play fails to capture what it is about crimes that makes criminals deserving of punishment; the others are the recently raised false-equivalence and lacks-integration objections. In response, I sketch an account of fair-play theory that is grounded in a conception of the political order as a meta-cooperative practice—a conception that falls somewhere between contractual and communitarian conceptions—and draw on this account to show how the theory can overcome the objections.


Communitarianism Contractualism Cooperative practice Fair play Justification Punishment 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceRhodes CollegeMemphisUSA

Personalised recommendations