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.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.