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Global Justice and Territory$
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Cara Nine

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199580217

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580217.001.0001

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Natural Law Theory and the General Right to Territory

Natural Law Theory and the General Right to Territory

(p.26) 2 Natural Law Theory and the General Right to Territory
Global Justice and Territory

Cara Nine

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 defends the general collective right to territory from the perspective of natural law theory. A general right to territory is a claim to be self-determining over some territory, even if the particular territory is not yet identified. Natural law theory is well suited for the task of explaining and justifying territorial rights because it establishes a universal method for the appropriation of exclusive rights over goods. However, modern natural law theorists did not carry out a sustained investigation of territorial rights. Consequently, this chapter utilizes capability theory to develop a naturalistic perspective from which we can derive a general principle regarding the acquisition of territorial rights. This principle tells us that exclusive territorial rights are justified if they are essential for the provision of individual basic needs.

Keywords:   natural law theory, capabilities theory, territorial rights, basic needs

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