By Oliviero Angeli
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Extra info for Cosmopolitanism, Self-Determination and Territory: Justice with Borders
While the a priori method deduces principles of natural law directly from the rational and social nature of human beings, the a posteriori method appeals to the testimonies of philosophers and historians. Now that any Thing is or is not by the Law of Nature, is generally proved either à priori, that is, by Arguments drawn from the very Nature of the Thing; or à posteriori, that is, by Reasons taken from something external. The former Way of Reasoning is more subtle and abstracted; the latter more popular.
A natural starting point for a genealogy of the territorial state is therefore a world with no territorial states and no land ownership. The more difficult answer is that common ownership of the world is a condition of equality – and equality is the default position of (early) modern genealogies. Natural law theorists regard the acquisition or privatization of land and goods as a prima facie departure from a commitment to human equality. I say ‘prima facie’, because what Grotius, Locke and Kant purport to show is precisely that territorial rights and property can be reconciled with the ideal of equality.
Maine, 1930). In line with this notion, Grotius’ accords the moral right to exclude to an occupant in virtue of that occupant not having dispossessed anyone else. However, as Jeremy Waldron has argued, ‘violently dispossessing another person or another people is not the be-all and end-all of injustice, and it’s not the only basis on which we might raise a moral question mark over an entitlement. Refusing to share resources with others is also a form of injustice; refusing to modify a holding based on First Occupancy in response to demographic or other changes in circumstances is an injustice.