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Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Volume 1$
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David Sobel, Peter Vallentyne, and Steven Wall

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199669530

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669530.001.0001

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Territorial Rights

Territorial Rights

Justificatory Strategies

(p.144) (p.145) 6 Territorial Rights
Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Volume 1

A. John Simmons

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the possible moral justifications for states’ claimed rights to exclusive control over particular geographical territories. Concentrating primarily on claimed rights of territorial jurisdiction, it examines various functionalist, nationalist, and voluntarist justificatory strategies. The chapter argues that functionalist, nationalist, and majoritarian voluntarist approaches, along with hybrid theories based on them, all fall prey to powerful objections. These objections appeal to historical, rather than structural, features of states and concern primarily problems involving trapped minority populations and the implied rapid supersession of individual rights. The chapter defends as an alternative an individualist Lockean voluntarism, arguing that it both avoids objections based on clear historical wrongs and offers the most intuitively plausible account of states’ territorial rights.

Keywords:   territory, rights, jurisdiction, property, nationalism, voluntarism, functionalism, particularity, supersession, Locke

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