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States and the limits of feasibility: enforcement, morality and possibility

Guillery, Daniel; (2018) States and the limits of feasibility: enforcement, morality and possibility. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Enforcement seems to be an essential and ubiquitous feature of state societies. My thesis explores arguments for the kind of general and exclusive moral permission to enforce that states claim, and in particular the role that feasibility considerations play in them. I argue that premises about the infeasibility of alternatives to a state’s enforcement are essential to the success of any such argument. States’ permission to enforce can be justified, if at all, in response to the unfortunate circumstances in which we find ourselves. I develop a general multivocal account of the concept of feasibility, according to which the concept can be made precise in many different ways, no single one of which is obviously privileged as uniquely relevant to moral theory. This account has the result of casting doubt on the assumption that states’ permission to enforce can be taken for granted. Arguments for this permission may succeed when we make their feasibility premises precise in some ways, but not others. Understanding this, I argue, helps illuminate how we ought to think about and treat the state enforcement we face in the real world.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: States and the limits of feasibility: enforcement, morality and possibility
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10055012
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