Journal of Applied Philosophy 38 (1):73-87 (2021)

Matthew R. Joseph
University of Sydney (PhD)
Most philosophical defences of the state’s right to exclude immigrants derive their strength from the normative importance of self-determination. If nation-states are taken to be the political institutions of a people, then the state’s right to exclude is the people’s right to exclude – and a denial of this right constitutes an abridgement of self-determination. In this paper, I argue that this view of self-determination does not cohere with a group-agency view of nation-states. On the group-agency view that I defend, a nation-state is the kind of group-agent that does not supervene on the intentionality of member/citizens. If we think that a nation-state is an intentional group-agent in its own right, then we should think that self-determination resides with the institutions of the state rather than with the citizens. If nation-states do not supervene on the intentionality of citizens, then it is unclear why citizens might have the right to control membership in the state as a feature of self-determination.
Keywords The right to exclude  Political philosophy  Group-agency  Self-determination  Philosophy of immigration
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Reprint years 2021
DOI 10.1111/japp.12410
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