Not In Their Name: Are Citizens Culpable For Their States' Actions?

Holly Lawford-Smith

Oxford University Press | Published : 2019


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 metaphysics, asking whether the state is a collective agent, and whether ordinary citizens are membe..

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