Colonialism, territory and pre-existing obligations

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 26 (2):277-287 (2023)
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In ‘What’s Wrong with Colonialism,’ Lea Ypi argues that the wrong of colonialism can be expressed as procedural wrongs, not as wronging territorial rights. On her view, colonial practices went wrong in two ways: they forced residents into political associations, and the terms of the political association were not established through equal and reciprocal negotiations. I argue that because Ypi’s account successfully side-lines all but essential claims to territory, her theory ends up being vulnerable to an objection it means to avoid. Historical residents may be subject to unequal treatment under newly formed political associations because their historical patterns of land use are not considered to have any independent moral weight. My analysis does not rely on any appeal to property or territorial rights. Instead, I appeal to pre-existing obligations holding between residents.



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Cara Nine
University College, Cork

Citations of this work

Colonialism, injustices of the past, and the hole in Nine.Daniel Weltman - 2023 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 88 (2):288-300.

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References found in this work

Two kinds of respect.Stephen Darwall - 1977 - Ethics 88 (1):36-49.
A Permissive Theory of Territorial Rights.Lea Ypi - 2014 - European Journal of Philosophy 22 (2):288-312.
What's Wrong with Colonialism.Lea Ypi - 2013 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 41 (2):158-191.
Decolonization and self-determination.Anna Stilz - 2015 - Social Philosophy and Policy 32 (1):1-24.

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