The Principle Of Fair Play

849 Words Oct 2nd, 2015 4 Pages
The notion of obedience is imperative to the notion of law, and the subject of legal obedience is accepted by virtue of its necessity in the definition of law. The discussion of moral obligation to obey the law, however, raises difficult questions met by various arguments. As a leader of this discussion, Rawls proposes that moral obligation to obey the law is upheld if the system of law is grounded in the principle of fair play.

Rawls’s principle of fair play is essentially a just and united social scheme that yields benefits when most or all members cooperate. He considers the moral obligation to obey the law as a derivative of this system: “a person who has accepted the benefits of the scheme is bound by a duty of fair play...to not take advantage of the free benefit by not cooperating...it belongs in fairness to no one” (Rawls 235). The moral obligation, which is reinforced by the just nature of fair play, is created when one accepts the benefits in order to maintain “fairness”. He also poses two anomalies that challenge this moral obligation: situation where one is obliged to obey an unjust law or where breaking the law may engender greater social utility. Rawls resolves the first conflict by assigning moral obligation to be prima facie and arguing that obeying the law is morally superior to disobeying because the system of fair play is the most just relative to other realistic legal options or to anarchy; he refutes the second point by placing “absolute weight [on…
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