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A Liberal Theory of International Justice$
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Andrew Altman and Christopher Heath Wellman

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199564415

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199564415.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 July 2021

Self‐Determination and Democracy

Self‐Determination and Democracy

(p.11) 2 Self‐Determination and Democracy
A Liberal Theory of International Justice

Andrew Altman (Contributor Webpage)

Christopher Heath Wellman

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an initial articulation and defense of our theory of political self‐determination and then applies this theory to the contemporary debate over the noninstrumental value of democracy. Our defense begins by noting that an account of group self‐determination is necessary to capture the inherent wrongs of colonialism and the forcible annexation of legitimate states. Transposing these insights to the literature surrounding the value of democracy, this chapter argues that the inherent value of democratic rule cannot be grounded in individual rights but rather must be based on an irreducibly collective moral right of political self‐determination. Thus, if the state chooses a nondemocratic form of governance that can perform the requisite political functions, then no individual member who prefers democracy is thereby necessarily wronged.

Keywords:   human rights, sovereignty, self‐determination, democracy, value individualism

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