The mystery of territory

Social Philosophy and Policy 32 (1):25-50 (2015)
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Abstract

:This essay argues that the territorial rights of states derive from the property rights of the individuals that make up those states. The argument draws from the Lockean tradition of justification of political powers. Persons in the state of nature have natural rights. Those rights are first-order substantive rights, and second-order executive rights In the social contract, individuals transfer to the state their executive rights, not their substantive rights. The state can thus define the boundaries of property rights and adjudicate property disputes, but does not legitimately own land itself. The article discusses and rejects, for deontic and consequentialist reasons, positions that justify collective and state ownership of territory. Some important consequences follow from the argument: First, no actual state has territorial rights, since no actual state wields delegated powers in land. Second, notwithstanding the preceding conclusion, actual states have an obligation to exercise their territorial powers consistently with the respect for private property.

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Introduction.Clare Heyward & Laura Lo Coco - 2021 - Global Justice : Theory Practice Rhetoric 13 (1):i-vi.

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References found in this work

Force and freedom: Kant's legal and political philosophy.Arthur Ripstein - 2009 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Nations, States, and Territory.Anna Stilz - 2011 - Ethics 121 (3):572-601.
Property rights and the resource curse.Leif Wenar - 2008 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 36 (1):2–32.
The Idea of a Legitimate State.David Copp - 1999 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 28 (1):3-45.
On the Territorial Rights of States 1.A. John Simmons - 2001 - Philosophical Issues 11 (1):300-326.

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