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The Theory of Self-Determination


Part of ASIL Studies in International Legal Theory

Fernando R. Tesón, Bas van der Vossen, Christopher W. Morris, Frédéric Mégret, Jens David Ohlin, Patrick Macklem, Alan Patten, Matthew Lister, Michael Blake, John R. Morss, Elizabeth Rodríguez-Santiago
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  • Date Published: April 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107119130

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About the Authors
  • When can a group legitimately form its own state? Under international law, some groups can but others cannot. But the standard is unclear, and traditional legal analysis has failed to elucidate it. In The Theory of Self-Determination, leading scholars chart new territory in our theoretical conception of self-determination. Drawing from diverse scholarship in international law, philosophy, and political science, they attempt to move beyond the prevailing nationalist conceptions of group definition. At issue are such universal questions as: when does a group qualify as a 'people'? Does history matter? Or is it a question of ethnic status? Are these matters properly solved by popular vote? Anchored in modern analytical political philosophy but with implications for a wide range of scholarship, this volume will prove essential for scholars and practitioners of international law, global justice, and international relations.

    • Offers a new take on self-determination that moves beyond prevailing nationalist conceptions
    • The book's interdisciplinary approach, drawing on law, philosophy, and political science, will be of interest to a wide range of scholars and practitioners
    • Applies philosophical foundations to recent cases from Scotland to the Ukraine
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This volume is a welcome contribution to the debate about self-determination that will be of interest to many readers, especially political theorists working on nationalism, global justice, and state authority, as well as international lawyers interested in secession. By placing philosophers and lawyers in dialogue, it enhances our understanding of the normative issues surrounding this topic, and it achieves a distinctively interdisciplinary tone.' Anna Stilz, Ethics & International Affairs

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107119130
    • length: 258 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • contains: 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the conundrum of self-determination Fernando R. Tesón
    1. Self-determination and moral variation Bas van der Vossen
    2. The case for national self-determination Christopher W. Morris
    3. The right to self-determination: earned, not inherent Frédéric Mégret
    4. The right to exist and the right to resist Jens David Ohlin
    5. Self-determination in three movements Patrick Macklem
    6. Self-determination for national minorities Alan Patten
    7. Self-determination, dissent, and the problem of population transfers Matthew Lister
    8. Civil disobedience, dirty hands, and secession Michael Blake
    9. 'Mars for the martians?' On the obsolescence of self-determination John R. Morss
    10. The evolution of self-determination of peoples in international law Elizabeth Rodríguez-Santiago.

  • Editor

    Fernando R. Tesón, Florida State University
    Fernando R. Tesón is the Tobias Simon Eminent Scholar and a Professor of Law at the Florida State University College of Law. A renowned scholar of political philosophy and international law, he is the author of Justice at a Distance: Extending Global Freedom (with Loren Lomasky, Cambridge, 2015) and Humanitarian Intervention: An Inquiry into Law and Morality, 3rd edition (2005), among many others. A native of Argentina, he is a founding member of the blog Bleeding Heart Libertarians (


    Fernando R. Tesón, Bas van der Vossen, Christopher W. Morris, Frédéric Mégret, Jens David Ohlin, Patrick Macklem, Alan Patten, Matthew Lister, Michael Blake, John R. Morss, Elizabeth Rodríguez-Santiago

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