Monday, 15 July 2013

Taking up Space on Earth: Theorizing Territorial Rights, the Justification of States and Immigration from a Global Standpoint

Discussion with Mathias Risse

In recent years there has been a vigorous debate among political philosophers about the origin and limits of the territorial rights of states. Three major views have emerged: a Kantian view; a Lockean view; and a nationalist view. These views differ substantially, but what they have in common is that they theorize territorial rights essentially one state at a time, without taking anything like a global standpoint. For that reason, topics such as immigration and global responsibilities connected to territoriality only appear as afterthoughts in these accounts. This paper diagnoses what is problematic about all these approaches and makes an alternative proposal, one that renders central the idea of humanity¹s collective ownershipof the earth.

Mathias Risse is Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. He works mostly in social and political philosophy and in ethics. His primary research areas are contemporary political philosophy (in particular questions of international justice, distributive justice, and property) and decision theory (in particular, rationality and fairness in group decision making, an area sometimes called analytical social philosophy.)