Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):98-113 (2020)

This article is interested in the general question of what justifies territorial rights over unoccupied places, including places that are not occupied but are situated within the territorial borders of a state. This question arises because one of the most common defenses of rights over territory makes use of the idea of occupancy and has difficulty explaining such rights in places that are not occupied. It explores this question through an examination of the claims and arguments in the Canadian Arctic, which provides an historically specific test case for the merits and plausibility of the various arguments appealed to. It argues that territorial rights in unoccupied places, including the Canadian Arctic, are justified on different grounds than in occupied parts of the territory, and that the justification also affects the kinds of rights—particularly over resources—that such states can claim.
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DOI 10.1017/can.2019.8
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