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First published in 2005, A Theory of Secession: The Case for Political Self-Determination offers an unapologetic defense of the right to secede. Christopher Heath Wellman argues that any group has a moral right to secede as long as its political divorce will leave it and the remainder state in a position to perform the requisite political functions. He explains that there is nothing contradictory about valuing legitimate states, while permitting their division. Once political states are recognized as valuable because of the functions that they are uniquely suited to perform, it becomes apparent that the territorial boundaries of existing states might permissably be redrawn as long as neither the process, nor the result of this reconfiguration, interrupts the production of the crucial political benefits. Thus, if one values self-determination, then one has good reason to conclude that people have a right to determine their political boundaries.
Christopher Heath Wellman teaches in the Department of Philosophy at Washington University in St Louis. He works in ethics, specializing in political and legal philosophy, and is co-author, with A. John Simmons, of Is There a Duty to Obey the Law?
1. Introduction; 2. The case for statism; 3. Valuing self-determination; 4. Lincoln on secession; 5. The truth in nationalism; 6. Political coercion and exploitation; 7. Secession and international law; 8. The velvet transformation.
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- ID: 9780521849159
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