Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1 (2):159-180 (1998)

Chaim Gans
Tel Aviv University
Can states' immigration policies favor groups with whom they are culturally and historically tied? I shall answer this question here positively, but in a qualified manner. My arguments in support of this answer will be of distributive justice, presupposing a globalist rather than a localist approach to justice. They will be based on a version of liberal nationalism according to which individuals can have fundamental interests in their national culture, interests which are rooted in freedom, identity, and especially in ensuring the meaningfulness of their endeavor. The prevalent means for protecting these interests is the right to national self-determination. Many believe that this right should be conceived of as a right to a state. I shall show that this conception of self-determination implies purely nationalist immigration policies. I shall present reasons for rejecting such policies, reasons which together with other reasons form a strong case against the statist interpretation of the right to self-determination. They form a strong case in favor of understanding self-determination as a bundle of privileges to which nations are entitled within the states dominating their homelands. Some of these privileges have to do with immigration policies. I shall argue for three principles which should regulate these immigration privileges and discuss the relation between them and Israel's Law of Return.
Keywords culture  immigration  liberalism  nationalism  self-determination
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1009938807877
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,008
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Persons, Character, and Morality.Bernard Williams - 1976 - In James Rachels (ed.), Moral Luck: Philosophical Papers 1973–1980. Cambridge University Press.
National Self-Determination.Avishai Margalit & Joseph Raz - 1990 - Journal of Philosophy 87 (9):439-461.
Can Liberalism Be Communitarian?Charles Taylor - 1994 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 8 (2):257-262.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Moral Arbitrariness of State Borders: Against Beitz.Cara Nine - 2008 - Contemporary Political Theory 7 (3):259-279.
Nationalism and Crisis.Enrique Camacho - 2017 - Tópicos: Revista de Filosofía 52:427-456.
Conservative Libertarianism and the Ethics of Borders.Enrique Camacho Beltran - 2015 - Tópicos: Revista de Filosofía 48:227-262.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
112 ( #104,332 of 2,505,154 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #170,004 of 2,505,154 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes