Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 159–178 | Cite as

Justice and Game Advantage in Sporting Games

  • Sigmund Loland


This paper is a case study of what Jon Elster calls "local justice"; particular schemes of justice which, on a relatively autonomous basis, are designed and implemented by institutions and practices to meet particular preferences and goals. The paper suggests an interpretation of the role of justice in sporting games. First, a framework for examinations of schemes of local justice is suggested. Second, norms are suggested that express the requirements that have to be met in order to consider a sporting game as just. The discussion shows that sports are characterized by a particular blend of meritocratic justice in which goods and burdens are distributed according to performance, and a non-meritocratic distribution through which goods and burdens arise as matters of chance. The essay concludes by arguing that the optimal blend of meritocratic justice and chance results in the realization of not merely fair sporting games, but of exciting and good games as well.

chance local justice meritocratic distribution sporting games 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sigmund Loland
    • 1
  1. 1.NIHOsloNorway E-mail:

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