Do states have the right to prevent potential immigrants from crossing their borders, or should people have the freedom to migrate and settle wherever they wish? Christopher Heath Wellman and Phillip Cole develop and defend opposing answers to this timely and important question.
First published in 2005, A Theory of Secession: The Case for Political Self-Determination offers an unapologetic defense of the right to secede. Christopher Heath Wellman argues that any group has a moral right to secede as long as its political divorce will leave it and the remainder state in a position to perform the requisite political functions. He explains that there is nothing contradictory about valuing legitimate states, while permitting their division. Once political states are recognized as valuable because (...) of the functions that they are uniquely suited to perform, it becomes apparent that the territorial boundaries of existing states might permissably be redrawn as long as neither the process, nor the result of this reconfiguration, interrupts the production of the crucial political benefits. Thus, if one values self-determination, then one has good reason to conclude that people have a right to determine their political boundaries. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Applied or practical ethics is perhaps the largest growth area in philosophy today, and many issues in moral, social, and political life have come under philosophical scrutiny in recent years. Taken together, the essays in this volume – including two overview essays on theories of ethics and the nature of applied ethics – provide a state-of-the-art account of the most pressing moral questions facing us today. Provides a comprehensive guide to many of the most significant problems of practical ethics Offers (...) state-of-the-art accounts of issues in medical, environmental, legal, social, and business ethics Written by major philosophers presently engaged with these complex and profound ethical issues. (shrink)
In this book, Christopher Heath Wellman offers original theories of political legitimacy and our obligation to obey the law, and then, building upon these accounts, defends a number of distinctive positions concerning the rights and responsibilities individual citizens, separatist groups, and political states have regarding one another.
: Democracy is regularly heralded as the only form of government that treats political subjects as free and equal citizens. On closer examination, however, it becomes apparent that democracy unavoidably restricts individual freedom, and it is not the only way to treat all citizens equally. In light of these observations, we argue that the non‐instrumental reasons to support democratic governance stem, not from considerations of individual freedom or equality, but instead from the importance of respecting group self‐determination. If this is (...) correct, it implies that a state may choose democracy, but its right to self‐determination means that it is also free, in principle, to decide in favor of some nondemocratic alternative. (shrink)
In this essay, I argue that absent special circumstances, there are no moral, judicial procedural rights. I divide this essay into four main sections. First, I argue that there is no general moral right against double jeopardy. Next, I explain why punishing a criminal without first establishing her guilt via a fair trial does not necessarily violate her rights. In the third section, I respond to a number of possible objections. And finally, I consider the implications of my arguments for (...) the human right to due process. (shrink)
Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics features pairs of newly commissioned essays by some of the leading theorists working in the field today. Brings together fresh debates on eleven of the most controversial issues in applied ethics Topics addressed include abortion, affirmative action, animals, capital punishment, cloning, euthanasia, immigration, pornography, privacy in civil society, values in nature, and world hunger. Lively debate format sharply defines the issues, and paves the way for further discussion. Will serve as an accessible introduction to the (...) major topics in applied ethics, whilst also capturing the imagination of professional philosophers. (shrink)
: After defining a hate crime as an offense in which the criminal selects the victim at least in part because of an animus toward members of the group to which the victim belongs, this essay surveys the standard justifications for state punishment en route to defending the permissibility of imposing stiffer penalties for hate crimes. It also argues that many standard instances of rape and domestic battery are hate crimes and may be punished as such.
In this article, we propose the Fair Priority Model for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and emphasize three fundamental values we believe should be considered when distributing a COVID-19 vaccine among countries: Benefiting people and limiting harm, prioritizing the disadvantaged, and equal moral concern for all individuals. The Priority Model addresses these values by focusing on mitigating three types of harms caused by COVID-19: death and permanent organ damage, indirect health consequences, such as health care system strain and stress, as well as (...) economic destruction. It proposes proceeding in three phases: the first addresses premature death, the second long-term health issues and economic harms, and the third aims to contain viral transmission fully and restore pre-pandemic activity. -/- To those who may deem an ethical framework irrelevant because of the belief that many countries will pursue "vaccine nationalism," we argue such a framework still has broad relevance. Reasonable national partiality would permit countries to focus on vaccine distribution within their borders up until the rate of transmission is below 1, at which point there would not be sufficient vaccine-preventable harm to justify retaining a vaccine. When a government reaches the limit of national partiality, it should release vaccines for other countries. -/- We also argue against two other recent proposals. Distributing a vaccine proportional to a country's population mistakenly assumes that equality requires treating differently situated countries identically. Prioritizing countries according to the number of front-line health care workers, the proportion of the population over 65, and the number of people with comorbidities within each country may exacerbate disadvantage and end up giving the vaccine in large part to wealthy nations. (shrink)
After defining a hate crime as an offense in which the criminal selects the victim at least in part because of an animus toward members of the group to which the victim belongs, this essay surveys the standard justifications for state punishment en route to defending the permissibility of imposing stiffer penalties for hate crimes. It also argues that many standard instances of rape and domestic battery are hate crimes and may be punished as such.
Abstract: Democracy is regularly heralded as the only form of government that treats political subjects as free and equal citizens. On closer examination, however, it becomes apparent that democracy unavoidably restricts individual freedom, and it is not the only way to treat all citizens equally. In light of these observations, we argue that the non-instrumental reasons to support democratic governance stem, not from considerations of individual freedom or equality, but instead from the importance of respecting group self-determination. If this is (...) correct, it implies that a state may choose democracy, but its right to self-determination means that it is also free, in principle, to decide in favor of some nondemocratic alternative. (shrink)
This essay explores the prospects of developing a satisfying account of group autonomy without rejecting value-individualism. That is, I will examine whether one can adequately explain the moral reasons to respect a group's claim to self-determination while insisting that only individual persons are of ultimate moral value.
In Rights Forfeiture and Punishment, Christopher Heath Wellman argues that those who seek to defend the moral permissibility of punishment should shift their focus from general justifying aims to moral side constraints. On Wellman's view, punishment is permissible just in case the wrongdoer has forfeited her right against punishment.