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Philosophy - Value Theory | Territorial Rights

Territorial Rights

Series: Law and Philosophy Library, Vol. 72

Meisels, Tamar

2nd ed. 2009, XII, 173 p.

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  • Systematic method of approaching international territorial disputes
  • A set of orderly general guidelines for the evaluation and arbitration of territorial disputes
  • Places the territorial issue at the head of the liberal-nationalist agenda

Liberal defences of nationalism, prevalent since the mid-1980’s, have largely neglected the fact that nationalism is primarily about land. Territorial Rights examines the generic types of territorial claims customarily put forward by national groups as justification for their territorial demands, within the framework of what has come to be known as ‘liberal nationalism’.

"When it appeared in 2005, Territorial Rights filled a void in liberal nationalist theory. In this second edition, Meisels carries her subtle and systematic thinking on the topic further, in part by deftly and constructively responding to the literature that the first edition spawned."
Allen Buchanan, Duke University, USA

"The question of who is entitled to exercise jurisdiction over which land is of fundamental theoretical and practical importance.  It has, however, been neglected by contemporary political philosophers.  In her thoughtful and stimulating work, Territorial Rights, Tamar Meisels provides a much needed analysis of the normative issues involved.  Territorial Rights is a comprehensive, rigorous and illuminating analysis.  It provides both an evaluation of competing philosophical perspectives and a defence of a liberal nationalist perspective on territory.  In doing so it includes instructive discussions of the implications of Locke's political thought for territorial rights, and the continuing relevance of historic injustices.  It would be of interest to anyone interested in questions of territorial rights (and indeed anyone interested in issues of global justice more generally)."
Simon Caney, Magdalen College, Oxford, UK

"Even the most cursory reading, of the burgeoning literature on global distributive justice and just war, reveals a growing appreciation of the foundational role that territorial rights must play in constructing a coherent theory of what nations owe to one another. Tamar Meisels provides us with a challenging, comprehensive, and highly original analysis of how such rights are constituted and the conditions under which they can be justified. Those, like myself, who have advanced a purely individualistic view of the basis of territorial rights, will have to do some serious grappling with her many powerful arguments if they are successfully to sustain that view."
Hillel Steiner FBA, University of Manchester, UK

Content Level » Research

Keywords » John Locke - Just War - Locke - Religion - Territorial Claims - Territorial demands - ethics - justice - will

Related subjects » Applied Ethics & Social Responsibility - Law - Philosophy - Political Science - Value Theory

Table of contents 


1. Introduction. 1.1 Liberal Nationalism. 1.2 Territorial Property and State Sovereignity. 1.3 Method and content.

2. Collective Rights. 2.1 National Rights as collective Rights. 2.2 National Rights as Individual Rights. 2.3 Individual Territorial Rights. 2.4 Collective Territorial Rights.

3. 'Historical Rights' 3.1 What are 'Historical Rights'? 3.2 Preliminary Objections. 3.3 From Time Immemorial. 3.4 The Nation’s Cradle. 3.5 Historical Ties and National Interests. 3.6 Concluding Remarks.

4. Corrective Justice. 4.1 Initial Assumptions. 4.2 The Question of Reparations. 4.3 The Collective Nature of Territorial Entitlement. 4.4 Territorial Restitution - For and Against. 4.5 The Case for Corrective Justice. 4.6 Concluding Remarks.

5. The Supersession Thesis. 5.1 The Argument from Supersession. 5.2 Some Early Objections. 5.3 Superseding Historic Injustice and the Lockean Proviso. 5.4 Superseding Historic Injustice and Territorial Rights. 5.5 The Lockean Proviso. 5.6. Enough and as Good Left for Others. 5.7 The Lockean Proviso and National Self-Determination. 5.8 Why Does any of this Matter? 5.9 Concluding Remarks.

6. Efficiency. 6.1 The Efficiency Argument. Overcoming Some Basic Objections. 6.2 The Value of Efficiency. 6.3 Concluding Remarks.

7. Settlement. 7.1 Settlement and Self-Determination. 7.2 The Concept of Settlement. 7.3 The Ethics of Settlement. 7.4 The Lockean Element. 7.5 The Expressive Element. 7.6 Settlement in Disputed Territories. 7.7 Concluding Remarks.

8. Global Justice and Equal Distribution. 8.1 Distributive Principles and Bilateral Relationships. 8.2 Territorial Redistribution on a Global Scale. 8.3 The Appropriate Subject Matter for Territorial Redistribution. 8.4 A Liberal-Nationalist Approach to the Value of Territory. 8.5 Concluding Remarks.

Conclusions. Bibliography. Index.

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