This article asks whether states have a right to close their borders because of their right to self-determination, as proposed recently by Christopher Wellman, Michael Walzer, and others. It asks the fundamental question whether self-determination can, in even its most unrestricted form, support the exclusion of immigrants. I argue that the answer is no. To show this, I construct three different ways in which one might use the idea of self-determination to justify immigration restrictions and show that each of these (...) arguments fails. My conclusion is that the nature and value of self-determination have to do with the conditions of genuine self-government, not membership of political society. Consequently, the demand for open borders is fully consistent with respect to self-determination. (shrink)
The Lockean theory of property licenses unilateral appropriation on the condition that there be ‘enough, and as good left in common for others’. However, the meaning of this proviso is all but clear. This article argues that the proviso is centered around the Lockean theory of freedom. To be free, I argue, we must be ‘non-subjected’ in the exercise of our rights, including our rights to appropriate. We enjoy such freedom only when the ability to exercise our rights does not (...) depend on others. That can obtain if literally enough and as good is left in common. But it can also obtain in other ways, for example through competitive labour markets. The latter offer something as good as ‘enough and as good’. (shrink)
I here defend historical entitlement theories of property rights against a popular charge. This is the objection that such theories fail because no convincing account of original appropriation exists. I argue that this argument assumes a certain reading of historical entitlement theory and I spell out an alternative reading against which it misfires. On this reading, the role of acts of original appropriation is not to justify but to individuate people’s holdings. I argue that we can identify which acts count (...) as original appropriation against the background of a general justification for a practice of property rights. On this view, what I will call ‘natural’ acts of original appropriation are acts by which a person begins to satisfy the general conditions for justified ownership. Finally, I offer an interpretation of John Locke's theory of appropriation along these lines and argue that it provides an attractive reading of his view. (shrink)
It is common to posit a clear opposition between the values served by property systems and the value of the environment. To give the environment its due, this view holds, the role of private property needs to be limited. Support for this has been said to be found in Locke’s famous ‘enough and as good’ proviso. This article shows that this opposition is mistaken, and corrects the implied reading of Locke’s proviso. In reality, there is no opposition between property and (...) the environment. This is shown using Locke’s theory of appropriation, as well as the real-life case of instream water appropriation. (shrink)
Many political theorists, philosophers, social scientists, and other academics engage in political activism. And many think this is how things ought to be. In this essay, I challenge the ideal of the politically engaged academic. I argue that, quite to the contrary, political theorists, philosophers, and other political thinkers have a prima facie duty to refrain from political activism. This argument is based on a commonsense moral principle, a claim about the point of political thought, and findings in cognitive psychology.
State legitimacy is often said to have two aspects: an internal and an external one. Internally, a legitimate state has the right to rule over its subjects. Externally, it has a right that outsiders not interfere with its domestic governance. But what is the relation between these two aspects? In this paper, I defend a conception of legitimacy according to which these two aspects are related in an importantly asymmetrical manner. In particular, a legitimate state’s external right to rule affords (...) it protections that include and go beyond what its internal right to rule enables it to do. This asymmetrical view, I argue, is preferable to its two main rivals: the view that a state’s internal and external legitimacy are separate issues, and the view that internal and external legitimacy are mirroring. (shrink)
ABSTRACT The traditional view holds that political philosophy should aim at the truth. By contrast, Avner de Shalit argues that political philosophers should do something different. According to him, they should work in direct consultation with “the people” in order to think through their theories about political institutions. This article defends the traditional aim of truth-seeking and shows the mistakes in De Shalit’s alternative approach.
Libertarians often bill their theory as an alternative to both the traditional Left and Right. _The Routledge Handbook of Libertarianism_ helps readers fully examine this alternative, without preaching it to them, exploring the contours of libertarian thinking on justice, institutions, interpersonal ethics, government, and political economy. The 31 chapters--all written specifically for this volume--are organized into five parts. Part I asks, what should libertarianism learn from other theories of justice, and what should defenders of other theories of justice learn from (...) libertarianism? Part II asks, what are some of the deepest problems facing libertarian theories? Part III asks, what is the right way to think about property rights and the market? Part IV asks, how should we think about the state? Finally, part V asks, how well can libertarianism deal with some of the major policy challenges of our day, such as immigration, trade, religion in politics, and paternalism in a free market. Among the _Handbook_’s chapters are those from critics who write about what they believe libertarians get right as well as others from leading libertarian theorists who identify what they think libertarians get wrong. As a whole, the _Handbook_ provides a comprehensive, clear-eyed look at what libertarianism has been and could be, and why it matters. (shrink)
Most treatments of territorial rights include a discussion (and rejection) of Locke. There is a remarkable consensus about what Locke’s views were. For him, states obtain territorial rights as the result of partial transfers of people’s property rights. In this article, I reject this reading. I argue that (a) for Locke, transfers of property rights were neither necessary nor sufficient for territorial rights and that (b) Locke in fact held a two-part theory of territorial rights. I support this reading by (...) appealing to textual and contextual evidence. I conclude by drawing a lesson from Locke’s views for current debates on territorial rights. (shrink)
The idea that law claims authority (LCA) has recently been forcefully criticized by a number of authors. These authors present a new and intriguing objection, arguing that law cannot be said to claim authority if such a claim is not justified. That is, these authors argue that the view that law does not have authority viciously conflicts with the view that law claims authority. I will call this the normative critique of LCA. In this article, I assess the normative critique (...) of LCA, focusing predominantly on the arguments presented by its most incisive proponent Philip Soper. I defend a twofold conclusion. First, LCA, understood roughly along the lines put forward by Joseph Raz, is part of the most attractive analysis of law. Second, proponents of the normative critique, and in particular Soper, are committed to accepting LCA. (shrink)
:In this essay, I defend a theory of liability to defensive force. The theory contains two elements. The first is a dual Lockean-inspired condition. The second aims to make this first condition consistent with problems arising from uncertainty. Drawing on recent work by Michael Zimmerman, I argue that the rights-based condition should be made sensitive to the evidence available to defenders.
This article aims to provide some insight into the nature and content of the theory of associative political obligation. It does this by first locating the view in the wider debate on political obligation, analyzing the view in terms of four central elements that are shared by many of its versions, and then discussing important criticisms that have been made of each of these, as well as some rejoinders by defenders of the theory.
Academics are, or ought to be, engaged in an impartial search for the truth. Many academics also are, but ought not to be, engaged in political activism. I defend a moral duty for academics to refrain from such activism. Ben Jones’ article in this journal rejects such a duty. This article responds to his objections, thereby more carefully formulating when and why political activism is morally problematic, and what burdens it may imply.
The status of economic liberties remains a serious lacuna in the theory and practice of human rights. Should a minimally just society protect the freedoms to sell, save, profit and invest? Is being prohibited to run a business a human rights violation? While these liberties enjoy virtually no support from the existing philosophical theories of human rights and little protection by the international human rights law, they are of tremendous importance in the lives of individuals, and particularly the poor. Like (...) most individual liberties, economic liberties increase our ability to lead our own life. When we enjoy them, we can choose the occupational paths that best fit us and, in so doing, define who they are in relation to others. Furthermore, in the absence of good jobs, economic liberties allow us to create an alternative path to subsistence. This is critical for the millions of working poor in developing countries who earn their livelihoods by engaging in independent economic activities. Insecure economic liberties leave them vulnerable to harassment, bribery and other forms of abuse from middlemen and public officials. This book opens a debate about the moral and legal status of economic liberties as human rights. It brings together political and legal theorists working in the domain of human rights and global justice, as well as people engaged in the practice of human rights, to engage in both foundational and applied issues concerning these questions. conomic liberties leave them vulnerable to harassment, bribery and other forms of abuse from middlemen and public officials. This book opens a debate about the moral and legal status of economic liberties as human rights. It brings together political and legal theorists working in the domain of human rights and global justice, as well as people engaged in the practice of human rights, to engage in both foundational and applied issues concerning these questions. (shrink)
This article adopts the framework set out in ‘Associative Political Obligations’ to ask two further questions about the theory of associative political obligation. (i) Which of the different interpretations of the theory of associative political obligation is most plausible? And (ii) what would be the implications of such a view? It is argued that (i) the most attractive version of the argument is one according to which such obligations obtain only in morally acceptable communities, and only between what may be (...) called ‘thick’ members. And (ii) that such a theory should give up on at least some of the conclusions that associativist theorists have tried to defend, such as that associative political obligations can establish the legitimacy of states. However, it is also suggested that this should not be considered a regrettable retreat. (shrink)
Philosophical theories of property rights struggle to adequately explain the moral significance of ownership. We propose that the moral significance of property rights is due to the intersection of what we call "the extended self” and conventionally protected rights claims. The latter, drawing on conventionalist accounts of property rights, explains the social nature and flexibility of property. The former, drawing on naturalist theories, explains their personal nature. The upshot is that we find at this intersection the full moral significance of (...) property. (shrink)
In this paper I respond to Bernd Krehoff’s article ‘Legitimate Political Authority and Sovereignty: Why States Cannot Be the Whole Story’. I criticize Krehoff’s use of Raz’s theory of authority to evaluate the legitimacy of our political institutions. Krehoff argues that states cannot (always) claim exclusive authority and therefore cannot possess exclusive legitimacy. Although I agree with his conclusion, I argue that the questions of legitimacy and (Razian) authority are distinct and that we need to focus more on the former (...) in order to really support and defend Krehoff’s conclusions. (shrink)
John Rawls wrote that people can voluntarily acquire political obligations to institutions only on the condition that those institutions are at least reasonably just. When an institution is seriously unjust, by contrast, attempts to create political obligation are “void ab initio.” However, Rawls's own explanation for this thought was deeply problematic, as are the standard alternatives. In this paper, I offer an argument for why Rawls's intuition was right and trace its implications for theories of authority and political obligation. These, (...) I claim, are more radical than is often thought. (shrink)