Philosophy 70 (273):341 - 362 (1995)

‘There is a moral right to secede.’It is not, perhaps, always entirely clear what Buchanan means with his reference to a right to secede, and that is a matter we shall have to deal with in due course, but, anyway, the claim that there is a moral right to secede is a good deal more complex than is apparent from Buchanan's ground-breaking work and involves a number of assumptions that need to be gone into if Buchanan's work is to be built on. Many other people, too, seem to assume such a right, especially in the context of discussions of an alleged right to self-determination. My main concern in this paper is with the self that might be self-determining and with what it must be like if it is to have a right. My conclusion is that, though there are many important questions to raise about secession, they are not, outside the case of federations, questions about a right to secede; a right to secede has bearing only in the least interesting cases
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100065554
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