•  433
    Democratic Theory and Border Coercion
    Political Theory 36 (1): 37-65. 2008.
    The question of whether or not a closed border entry policy under the unilateral control of a democratic state is legitimate cannot be settled until we first know to whom the justification of a regime of control is owed. According to the state sovereignty view, the control of entry policy, including of movement, immigration, and naturalization, ought to be under the unilateral discretion of the state itself: justification for entry policy is owed solely to members. This position, however, is inc…Read more
  •  290
    Rousseau initially attempts to secure freedom by grounding political rule in persuasion, rather than coercion. When the spectre of rhetoric undermines this strategy, he is led to ground the volonté générale in the silent and introspective disclosure of the solitary citizen’s inner conscience, which through a sentimentalist transformation of Descartes’s category of bon sens, is recast as an eminently public sentiment. But when rhetorical eloquence turns out to be indispensable to politics, Rousse…Read more
  •  285
    Many anticosmopolitan Rawlsians argue that since the primary subject of justice is society's basic structure, and since there is no global basic structure, the scope of justice is domestic. This paper challenges the anticosmopolitan basic structure argument by distinguishing three interpretations of what Rawls meant by the basic structure and its relation to justice, corresponding to the cooperation, pervasive impact, and coercion theories of distributive justice. On the cooperation theory, it i…Read more
  •  255
    Critics of state sovereignty have typically challenged the state’s right to close its borders to foreigners by appeal to the liberal egalitarian discourse of human rights. According to the liberty argument, freedom of movement is a basic human right; according to the equality or justice argument, open borders are necessary to reduce global poverty and inequality, both matters of global justice. I argue that human rights considerations do indeed mandate borders considerably more open than is the …Read more
  •  224
    Publicity, Privacy, and Religious Toleration in Hobbes's Leviathan
    Modern Intellectual History 10 (2): 261-291. 2013.
    What motivated an absolutist Erastian who rejected religious freedom, defended uniform public worship, and deemed the public expression of disagreement a catalyst for war to endorse a movement known to history as the champion of toleration, no coercion in religion, and separation of church and state? At least three factors motivated Hobbes’s 1651 endorsement of Independency: the Erastianism of Cromwellian Independency, the influence of the politique tradition, and, paradoxically, the contributio…Read more
  •  219
    Samuel Scheffler has recently argued that some relationships are non-instrumentally valuable; that such relationships give rise to “underived” special responsibilities; that there is a genuine tension between cosmopolitan egalitarianism and special responsibilities; and that we must consequently strike a balance between the two. We argue that there is no such tension and propose an alternative approach to the relation between cosmopolitan egalitarianism and special responsibilities. First, while…Read more
  •  208
    A Critique of the “Common Ownership of the Earth” Thesis
    Les ateliers de l'éthique/The Ethics Forum 8 (2): 33-40. 2013.
    In On Global Justice, Mathias Risse claims that the earth’s original resources are collectively owned by all human beings in common, such that each individual has a moral right to use the original resources necessary for satisfying her basic needs. He also rejects the rival views that original resources are by nature owned by no one, owned by each human in equal shares, or owned and co-managed jointly by all humans. I argue that Risse’s arguments fail to establish a form of ownership at all and,…Read more
  •  194
    There are at least five important arguments for why liberal egalitarianism permits states, under today's circumstances, to close their borders to foreigners: the public order, domestic economy, social integration, political threat, and domestic welfare arguments. Critical examination of these arguments suggests that liberal egalitarianism, rather than supporting a right to close one's borders to foreigners, mandates borders considerably more open than is the practice of today's self-styled libe…Read more
  •  161
    Hobbes on the Causes of War: A Disagreement Theory
    American Political Science Review 105 (02): 298-315. 2011.
    Hobbesian war primarily arises not because material resources are scarce; or because humans ruthlessly seek survival before all else; or because we are naturally selfish, competitive, or aggressive brutes. Rather, it arises because we are fragile, fearful, impressionable, and psychologically prickly creatures susceptible to ideological manipulation, whose anger can become irrationally inflamed by even trivial slights to our glory. The primary source of war, according to Hobbes, is disagreement, …Read more
  •  144
    On the Demos and its Kin: Nationalism, Democracy, and the Boundary Problem
    American Political Science Review 106 (4): 867-882. 2012.
    Cultural-nationalist and democratic theory both seek to legitimize political power via collective self-rule: their principle of legitimacy refers right back to the very persons over whom political power is exercised. But such self-referential theories are incapable of jointly solving the distinct problems of legitimacy and boundaries, which they necessarily combine, once it is assumed that the self-ruling collectivity must be a pre-political, in-principle bounded, ground of legitimacy. Cultural …Read more
  •  120
    The claim that liberal democratic normative commitments are compatible with nationalism is challenged by the widely acknowledged fact that national identities invariably depend on historical myths: the nationalist defence of such publicly shared myths is in tension with liberal democratic theory’s commitment to norms of publicity, public justification, and freedom of expression. Recent liberal nationalist efforts to meet this challenge by justifying national myths on liberal democratic grounds f…Read more
  •  104
    According to the special-obligations challenge to the justice argument for more open borders, immigration restrictions to wealthier polities are justified because of special obligations owed to disadvantaged compatriots. I interrogate this challenge by considering three types of ground for special obligations amongst compatriots. First, the social relations that come with shared residence, such as participation in a territorially bounded, mutually beneficial scheme of cooperation; having fundame…Read more
  •  87
    Wage competition and the special-obligations challenge to more open borders
    with Manish Pandey and Sohrab Abizadeh
    Politics, Philosophy and Economics 14 (3): 255-269. 2015.
    According to the special-obligations challenge to the justice argument for more open borders, immigration restrictions to wealthier polities are justified because of special obligations owed to disadvantaged compatriots negatively impacted by the immigration of low-skilled foreign workers. We refute the special-obligations challenge by refuting its empirical premise and draw out the normative implications of the empirical evidence for border policies. We show that immigration to wealthier politi…Read more
  •  86
    Was Fichte An Ethnic Nationalist? On Cultural Nationalism And Its Double
    History of Political Thought 26 (2): 334-359. 2005.
    Even though Fichte's Reden an die deutsche Nation arguably constitutes one of the founding texts of nationalist political thought, it has received little scholarly attention from English-speaking political theorists. The French, by contrast, have a long tradition of treating Fichte as a central figure in the history of political thought, and have given considerable attention to the Reden in particular. While the dominant French interpretation, which construes the Reden as a non-ethnic cultural n…Read more
  •  85
    Two arguments apparently support the thesis that collective identity presupposes an Other: the recognition argument, according to which seeing myself as a self requires recognition by an other whom I also recognize as a self (Hegel); and the dialogic argument, according to which my sense of self can only develop dialogically (Taylor). But applying these arguments to collective identity involves a compositional fallacy. Two modern ideologies mask the particularist thesis’s falsehood. The ideology…Read more
  •  84
    According to Aristotle, character (êthos) and emotion (pathos) are constitutive features of the process of phronetic practical deliberation: in order to render a determinate action-specific judgement, practical reasoning cannot be simply reduced to logical demonstration (apodeixis). This can be seen by uncovering an important structural parallel between the virtue of phronêsis and the art of rhetoric. This structural parallel helps to show how Aristotle's account of practical reason and delibera…Read more
  •  72
    Does Liberal Democracy Presuppose a Cultural Nation? Four Arguments
    American Political Science Review 96 (3): 495-509. 2002.
    This paper subjects to critical analysis four common arguments in the sociopolitical theory literature supporting the cultural nationalist thesis that liberal democracy is viable only against the background of a single national public culture: the arguments that (1) social integration in a liberal democracy requires shared norms and beliefs (Schnapper); (2) the levels of trust that democratic politics requires can be attained only among conationals (Miller); (3) democratic deliberation requires …Read more
  •  68
    Against the dominant view in contemporary Hobbes scholarship, I argue that Hobbes’ philosophy of language implicitly denies that linguistic expressions refer to anything. I defend this thesis both textually, in light of what Hobbes actually said, and contextually, in light of Hobbes’ desertion of the vocabulary of suppositio, which was prevalent in semantics leading up to Hobbes. Hobbes explained away the apparent fact of linguistic reference via a reductive analysis: the relation between words …Read more
  •  65
    On the philosophy/rhetoric binaries: Or, is Habermasian discourse motivationally impotent?
    Philosophy and Social Criticism 33 (4): 445-472. 2007.
    The susceptibility of Habermas' socio-political theory to the charge of motivational impotence can be traced to a problem in the way in which he conceives of discursive practical reason. By implicitly constructing the notion of discursive rationality in contrast to, and in abstraction from, the rhetorical and affective components of language use, Habermas' notion of discursive practical reason ends up reiterating the same binaries — between reason and passion, abstract and concrete, universal an…Read more
  •  52
    Sovereign Jurisdiction, Territorial Rights, and Membership in Hobbes
    In A. Martinich & Kinch Hoekstra (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Hobbes, Oxford University Press. 2016.
    Although sovereign jurisdictional authority is not itself a kind of property right for Hobbes, it is the object of the sovereign’s (not the state’s) proprietary rights. Jurisdictional authority for Hobbes is foundationally over persons rather than territory, so that the sovereign’s territorial jurisdiction is parasitic on jurisdiction over persons. Territory nevertheless plays a significant role in determining subjects’ political obligations because the sovereign’s ability to protect subjects is…Read more
  •  45
    According to a subjectivist theory, normative reasons are grounded in facts about our desires. According to an instrumentalist theory, reasons are grounded also in facts about the relevant means to desired objects. These are distinct theories. The widespread tendency to conflate the normativity of subjective and instrumentalist precepts obscures two facts. First, instrumentalist precepts incorporate a subjective element with an objective one. Second, combining these elements into a single theory…Read more
  •  41
    The Representation of Hobbesian Sovereignty: Leviathan as Mythology
    In S. A. Lloyd (ed.), Hobbes Today, Cambridge University Press. 2013.
    Readers of Hobbes have often seen his Leviathan as a deeply paradoxical work. On one hand, recognizing that no sovereign could ever wield enough coercive power to maintain social order, the text recommends that the state enhance its power ideologically, by tightly controlling the apparatuses of public discourse and socialization. The state must cultivate an image of itself as a mortal god of nearly unlimited power, to overpower its subjects and instil enough fear to win obedience. On the other h…Read more
  •  40
    Liberal nationalists advance two claims: (1) an empirical claim that nationalism is functionally indispensable to the viability of liberal democracy (because it is necessary to social integration) and (2) a normative claim that some forms of nationalism are compatible with liberal democratic norms. The empirical claim is often supported, against postnationalists’ view that social integration can bypass ethnicity and nationality, by pointing to the inevitable ethnic and cultural particularities o…Read more
  •  39
    Review Symposium (review)
    with Joseph Carens, Rainer Bauböck, and David Miller
    Political Theory 43 (3): 380-411. 2015.
  •  39
    National Baha’i elections, conducted world-wide without nominations, competitive campaigns, or parties, challenge the emerging consensus that the only truly democratic elections are multiparty elections in which each party’s candidates compete freely for votes. National Baha’i electoral institutions are based on three core values: respect for the inherent dignity of each person, the unity and solidarity of persons collectively, and the justice and fairness of institutions. While liberal politica…Read more
  •  34
    By the time Hobbes wrote Leviathan, he was a theist, but not in the sense presumed by either side of the present-day debate concerning the sincerity of his professed theism. On the one hand, Hobbes’s expressed theology was neither merely deistic, nor confined to natural theology: the Hobbesian God is not merely a first mover, but a person who counsels, commands, and threatens. On the other hand, the Hobbesian God’s existence depends on being constructed artificially by human convention. The Hobb…Read more
  •  33
    Hobbes on Mind: Practical Deliberation, Reasoning, and Language
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (1): 1-34. 2017.
    Readers of Hobbes usually take his account of practical deliberation to be a passive process that does not respond to agents’ judgements about what normative reasons they have. This is ostensibly because deliberation is purely conative and/or excludes reasoning, or because Hobbesian reasoning is itself a process in which reasoners merely experience a succession of mental states (e.g. according to purely associative mental structures). I argue to the contrary that for Hobbes deliberation (and hen…Read more