Game genesis of justice in the teachings of Huizinga

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The article presents the concept of the “game origin of justice,” developed by the Dutch historian and philosopher Johan Huizinga, in the context of the general teaching about human culture as a game. From the work of the historian, the game signs are distinguished, and the definition of its concept is formulated. The highlighted game signs correlate with the justice signs. The interpretation of some proto-legal phenomena and statements about their gaming origin are compared with the points of view of other legal historians, namely, J. Davi and V. Ehrenberg. This paper presents the author's interpretation in relation to contemporary developments in the law. An explanation is given for why the theory about the game origin of justice has not received support and development in the lawyers’ work. The identification of justice with a religious cult is carried out through similar gaming practices. The paper concludes by stating that there are direct genetic links among the game, justice, and religious worship. It is hypothesized that the theory about the game origin of justice can be considered a special case of a higher-level theory about the origin of state and law from the game.

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About the authors

Yury A. Tsvetkov

Moscow Academy of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation

Author for correspondence.

Russian Federation, Moscow

Candidate of law, associate professor, head of the research department


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