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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 39, Issue 4, October 2013

Steven Weimer
Pages 625-642

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.

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