Volume 39, Issue 4, October 2013
Autonomy-Based Accounts of the Right to Secede
Voluntarist accounts of secession are those that attempt to ground a moral right to secede in autonomy. This paper argues that no such account is likely to succeed. After describing the serious problems that plague the most straightforward Voluntarist approach, I examine two recent accounts that employ novel approaches designed to avoid those difficulties. I argue that both accounts fail, shedding considerable doubt on the possibility of a plausible autonomy-based account of the moral right to secede. I go on to discuss what this pessimistic conclusion implies for the theory and practice of secession.