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Not In Their Name – Are Citizens Culpable For Their States' Actions? - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Not In Their Name: Are Citizens Culpable For Their States' Actions?

Holly Lawford-Smith


Given their size and influence, states are able to inflict harm far beyond the reach of a single individual. But there is a great deal of unclarity about exactly who is implicated in that kind of harm, and how we should think about both culpability and responsibility for it. The idea of popular sovereignty is dominant in classical political theory. It is a commonplace assumption that democratic publics both authorize and have control over what their states do; that their states act in their name and on their behalf. Not In Their Name approaches these assumptions from the perspective of social ... More

Keywords: social metaphysics, political philosophy, the state, democratic public, popular sovereignty, citizens, collective agency, responsibility, democratic collective culpability

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780198833666
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2019 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198833666.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Holly Lawford-Smith, author
Senior Lecturer in Political Philosophy, University of Melbourne