In this paper I outline a theory of legitimacy that grounds the state’s right to rule on a natural duty not to harm others. I argue that by refusing to enter the state, anarchists expose those living next to them to the dangers of the state of nature, thereby posing an unjust threat. Since we have a duty not to pose unjust threats to others, anarchists have a duty to leave the state of nature and enter the state. This duty (...) correlates to a claim-right possessed by those living next to them, who also have a right to act in self-defence to enforce this obligation. This argument, if successful, would be particularly attractive, as it provides an account of state legitimacy without importing any normative premises that libertarians would reject. (shrink)
The introduction introduces the history of the concept of human rights and its philosophical genealogy. It raises questions of the nature of human rights, the grounds of human rights, difference between proposed and actual human rights, and scepticism surrounding the very idea of human rights. In the course of this discussion, it concludes that the diversity of positions on human rights is a sign of the intellectual, cultural, and political fertility of the notion of human rights. The chapter concludes with (...) an overview of the chapters present in the volume. (shrink)
Just war theory is currently dominated by two positions. According to the orthodox view, provided that jus in bello principles are respected, combatants have an equal right to fight, regardless of the justice of the cause pursued by their state. According to “revisionists” whenever combatants lack reasons to believe that the war they are ordered to fight is just, their duty is to disobey. I argue that when members of a legitimate state acting in good faith are ordered to fight, (...) they acquire a pro-tanto obligation to obey which does not depend for its validity on the justice of the cause being pursued. However, when the war is unjust, this obligation may be overridden, under certain conditions, by the obligation not to contribute to the unjustified killing of innocents. This is because the pro-tanto force of the duty to obey the law is best understood in terms of “presumptive”, rather than “exclusionary” reasons for action. This approach captures the insights of both the orthodox and the revisionist view, while avoiding the problems that afflict each of them. (shrink)
Crimes against humanity are supposed to have a collective dimension with respect both to their victims and their perpetrators. According to the orthodox view, these crimes can be committed by individuals against individuals, but only in the context of a widespread or systematic attack against the group to which the victims belong. In this paper I offer a new conception of crimes against humanity and a new justification for their international prosecution. This conception has important implications as to which crimes (...) can be justifiably prosecuted and punished by the international community. I contend that the scope of the area of international criminal justice that deals with basic human rights violations should be wider than is currently acknowledged, in that it should include some individual violations of human rights, rather than only violations that have a collective dimension. (shrink)
In a pair of recent papers, Allen Buchanan has outlined an ambitious account of the ethics of revolution and its implications for military intervention. Buchanan’s account is bold and yet sophisticated. It is bold in that it advances a number of theses that will no doubt strike the reader as highly controversial; it is sophisticated in that it rests on a nuanced account of how revolutions unfold and the constraints that political self-determination places on intervention. He argues that, despite the (...) importance of political self-determination, humanitarian intervention may be permissible without the consent of the rebelling population. Indeed, given certain structural features of revolutions, there are often reasons to disregard the consent of the population oppressed and intervene before the revolution starts. More controversially, he argues that military force may be employed to nullify the democratic constitutional choice of the newly liberated population and impose a particular form of democratic government, if this is necessary to guarantee the conditions for the future exercise of self-determination. In this paper, I further elaborate Buchanan’s account of political self-determination and argue that once correctly understood, it places tighter constraints on intervention than Buchanan allows. Thus, his bold conclusions should be resisted. (shrink)
In this paper I criticise an influential version of associative theory of political obligation and I offer a reformulation of the theory in ‘quasi-voluntarist’ terms. I argue that although unable by itself to solve the problem of political obligation, my quasi-voluntarist associative model can play an important role in solving this problem. Moreover, the model teaches us an important methodological lesson about the way in which we should think about the question of political obligation. Finally, I suggest that the quasi-voluntarist (...) associative model is particularly attractive because it manages to combine the main thrust of the traditional associative view with the most attractive feature of transactional theories, while avoiding at the same time the main problems that afflict each of these two approaches. (shrink)
Provided that traditional jus ad bellum principles are fulfilled, military humanitarian intervention to stop large scale violations of human rights (such as genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes) is widely regarded as morally permissible. In cases of “supreme humanitarian emergency”, not only are the victims morally permitted to rebel, but other states are also permitted to militarily intervene. Things are different if the human rights violations in question fall short of supreme humanitarian emergency. Because of the importance of respecting (...) political self-determination, in cases of “ordinary oppression”, we normally think that rebellion might be permissible, but not military humanitarian intervention. Thus, according to the received view, the conditions for the permissibility of intervention coincide with the conditions for the permissibility of revolution in cases of supreme humanitarian emergency, but not in cases of ordinary oppression. In cases of ordinary oppression there is an asymmetry between the conditions for the permissibility of revolution and intervention (call this the Asymmetry View). Should we accept the Asymmetry View? I answer this question by outlining an account of political self-determination and by illustrating the complex role that this notion should play in discussing the morality of revolution and intervention. (shrink)
I offer a new account of fair-play obligations for non-excludable benefits received from the state. Firstly, I argue that non-acceptance of these benefits frees recipients of fairness obligations only when a counterfactual condition is met; i.e. when non-acceptance would hold up in the closest possible world in which recipients do not hold motivationally-biased beliefs triggered by a desire to free-ride. Secondly, I argue that because of common mechanisms of self-deception there will be recipients who reject these benefits without meeting the (...) counterfactual condition. For this reason, I suggest that those who reject non-excludable benefits provided by the state have a duty to support their rejection with adequate reasons. Failing that, they can be permissibly treated as if they had fair-play obligations (although in fact they might not have them). Thus, I claim that there is a distinction, largely unappreciated, between the question of whether we have a duty of fairness to obey the law and the question of whether we can be permissibly treated as if we had one. (shrink)
The fourth volume in the Criminalization series, this volume explores some of the most general principles and theories of criminalization. It includes not only philosophical work, but also historical, legal, and sociological investigations into criminalization, clarifying the state of the discipline today.
In this article I criticize a theory of political obligation recently put forward by Christopher Wellman. Wellman's “samaritan theory” grounds both state legitimacy and political obligation in a natural duty to help people in need when this can be done at no unreasonable cost. I argue that this view is not able to account for some important features of the relation between state and citizens that Wellman himself seems to value. My conclusion is that the samaritan theory can only be (...) accepted if we are ready to give up either the traditional notion of political obligation as a prima facie duty valid for every citizen, or the current view of the relationships that should exist between states, citizens and foreigners (the view according to which states should have special concerns for their own citizens). (shrink)
:The main point of contention between “naturalistic” and “political” theories of human rights concerns the need to invoke the notion of moral human rights in justifying the system of human rights included in the international practice. Political theories argue that we should bypass the question of the justification of moral human rights and start with the question of which norms and principles should be adopted to regulate the practice. Naturalistic theories, by contrast, claim that a convincing answer to the latter (...) question will have to presuppose some answer to the former. An adequate justification of the system of human rights included in the international practice, according to naturalistic approaches, will ultimately have to rely on some appeal to moral human rights. I call this view the “Priority of the Moral over the Political.” In this essay, I argue that the Priority of the Moral is harder to dismiss than political theories of human rights suggest, and that before we can assess the plausibility of these theories, they need to say more in defense of their claim that they can do without this view. I then consider the two main objections that seem to have motivated many philosophers to abandon the naturalistic approach to the justification of human rights in favor of the political one. I conclude by suggesting that a variant of naturalistic justification, the basic-needs account, has the resources to address these objections. (shrink)
According to the received view crimes like torture, rape, enslavement or enforced prostitution are domestic crimes if they are committed as isolated or sporadic events, but become crimes against humanity when they are committed as part of a âwidespread or systematic attackâ against a civilian population. Only in the latter case can these crimes be prosecuted by the international community. One of the most influential accounts of this idea is Larry Mayâs International Harm Principle, which states that crimes against humanity (...) are those that somehow âharm humanity.â I argue that this principle is unable to provide an adequate account of crimes against humanity. Moreover, I argue that the principle fails to account for the idea that crimes against humanity are necessarily group based. I conclude by suggesting that the problem with Mayâs account is that it relies on a harm-based conception of crime which is very popular, but ultimately mistaken. I submit that in order to develop an adequate theory of crimes against humanity we need to abandon the harm-based model and replace it with an alternative conception of crime and criminal law, one based on the notion of accountability. (shrink)
What makes something a human right? What is the relationship between the moral foundations of human rights and human rights law? What are the difficulties of appealing to human rights? This book offers the first comprehensive survey of current thinking on the philosophical foundations of human rights. Divided into four parts, this book focuses firstly on the moral grounds of human rights, for example in our dignity, agency, interests or needs. Secondly, it looks at the implications that different moral perspectives (...) on human rights bear for human rights law and politics. Thirdly, it discusses specific and topical human rights including freedom of expression and religion, security, health and more controversial rights such as a human right to subsistence. The final part discusses nuanced critical and reformative views on human rights from feminist, Kantian and relativist perspectives among others. The essays represent new and canonical research by leading scholars in the field. Each section is structured as a set of essays and replies, offering a comprehensive analysis of different positions within the debate in question. The introduction from the editors will guide researchers and students navigating the diversity of views on the philosophical foundations of human rights. (shrink)
The third book in the Criminalization series examines the constitutionalization of criminal law. It considers how the criminal law is constituted through the political processes of the state; how the agents of the criminal law can be answerable to it themselves; and finally how the criminal law can be constituted as part of the international order.
Provided that traditional jus ad bellum principles are fulfilled, military humanitarian intervention to stop large scale violations of human rights (such as genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes) is widely regarded as morally permissible. In cases of “supreme humanitarian emergency”, not only are the victims morally permitted to rebel, but other states are also permitted to militarily intervene. Things are different if the human rights violations in question fall short of supreme humanitarian emergency. Because of the importance of respecting (...) political self‐determination, in cases of “ordinary oppression”, we normally think that rebellion might be permissible, but not military humanitarian intervention. Thus, according to the received view, the conditions for the permissibility of intervention coincide with the conditions for the permissibility of revolution in cases of supreme humanitarian emergency, but not in cases of ordinary oppression. In cases of ordinary oppression there is an asymmetry between the conditions for the permissibility of revolution and intervention (call this the Asymmetry View). Should we accept the Asymmetry View? I answer this question by outlining an account of political self‐determination and by illustrating the complex role that this notion should play in discussing the morality of revolution and intervention. (shrink)
Philosophers working on the morality of harm have paid surprisingly little attention to the problem of manipulation. The aim of this paper is to remedy this lacuna by exploring how liability to defensive harm is affected by the fact that someone posing an unjust threat has been manipulated into doing so. In addressing this problem, the challenge is to answer the following question: Why should it be the case that being misled into posing an unjust threat by manipulation makes a (...) difference to one’s liability, as compared to being misled into doing so by natural events or by someone’s honest attempt to persuade us? To answer this question, I first outline an account of manipulation and then use it to defend what I shall call the “Pre-emption Principle.”. (shrink)
Introduction: Law and Philosophy—Moral, Legal and Political Perspectives Content Type Journal Article Pages 237-239 DOI 10.1007/s11158-008-9068-9 Authors Massimo Renzo, University of Stirling Department of Philosophy Stirling 4LA FK9 UK Bjarke Viskum, University of Århus Department of Jurisprudence Langelandsgade 110, 3 tv. 8000 Arhus C Denmark Journal Res Publica Online ISSN 1572-8692 Print ISSN 1356-4765 Journal Volume Volume 14 Journal Issue Volume 14, Number 4.