A liberal theory of international justice

New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Christopher Heath Wellman (2009)
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Abstract

This book advances a novel theory of international justice that combines the orthodox liberal notion that the lives of individuals are what ultimately matter morally with the putatively antiliberal idea of an irreducibly collective right of self-governance. The individual and her rights are placed at center stage insofar as political states are judged legitimate if they adequately protect the human rights of their constituents and respect the rights of all others. Yet, the book argues that legitimate states have a moral right to self-determination and that this right is inherently collective, irreducible to the individual rights of the persons who constitute them. Exploring the implications of these ideas, the book addresses issues pertaining to democracy, secession, international criminal law, armed intervention, political assassination, global distributive justice, and immigration. A number of the positions taken in the book run against the grain of current academic opinion: there is no human right to democracy; separatist groups can be morally entitled to secede from legitimate states; the fact that it is a matter of brute luck whether one is born in a wealthy state or a poorer one does not mean that economic inequalities across states must be minimized or even kept within certain limits; most existing states have no right against armed intervention; and it is morally permissible for a legitimate state to exclude all would-be immigrants

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Author Profiles

Andrew Altman
Georgia State University
Christopher Wellman
Washington University in St. Louis

Citations of this work

Political equality, plural voting, and the leveling down objection.David Peña-Rangel - 2022 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 21 (2):122-164.
Territorial Exclusion: An Argument against Closed Borders.Daniel Weltman - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 19 (3):257-90.
Immigration and self-determination.Bas van der Vossen - 2015 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 14 (3):270-290.
A cosmopolitan instrumentalist theory of secession.Daniel Weltman - 2023 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 61 (3):527-551.
The Ethics of Marketing to Vulnerable Populations.David Palmer & Trevor Hedberg - 2013 - Journal of Business Ethics 116 (2):403-413.

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