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Ethics in the Public DomainEssays in the Morality of Law and Politics$
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Joseph Raz

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198260691

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198260691.001.0001

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National Self-Determination

National Self-Determination

(p.125) 6 National Self-Determination
Ethics in the Public Domain


Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with the moral justification of the case for national self-determination. It subject lies within the morality of international relations rather than within international law and international relations proper. It assumes throughout that states and international law should recognize such a right only if there is a sound moral case for it. The second section deals with the nature of groups that might be the subject of such a right. The third section considers the value served by the enjoyment of political independence by such groups. The fourth section considers the case for conceding that there is a moral right to self-determination. On the one hand, the right to self-determination is neither absolute nor unconditional. On the other hand, the interests of members of an encompassing group in the self-respect and prosperity of the group are among the most vital human interests.

Keywords:   groups, self-government, self-determination, human interest, political independence

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