Putting proximity in its place

Abstract

Which role can physical proximity play in our thinking about the foundations of political community in a world where, due to political, economic and technological developments, we seem to live side by side with virtually everyone globally? This article interrogates this question in conversation with Kant’s political thought, where (enigmatically) proximity makes a prominent appearance both as a foundation of statehood and of cosmopolitan community. I argue that, as a scalar (rather than binary) criterion, the idea of proximity cannot serve as a particularisation principle that guides us in carving up the world into peoples or territories. However, as a regulative principle it provides an appealing normative criterion for the internal constitution of existing states. While this is predicated on accepting Kantian conservatism about boundaries, the proximity-based state is structured in a way that deflates the normative significance of the very distinction between insider and outsider.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Ameriks, K. (2000) Kant and the Fate of Autonomy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Angeli, O. (2015) Cosmopolitanism, Self-determination and Territory. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Blake, M. (2013) Immigration, jurisdiction and exclusion. Philosophy & Public Affairs 41: 103–130.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Byrd, S. and Hruschka, J. (2010) Kant’s ‘Doctrine of Right’: A Commentary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Carens, J. (2013) The Ethics of Immigration. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Ellis, E. (2005) Kant’s Politics. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Flikschuh, K. (2000) Kant and Modern Political Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Flikschuh, K. (2008) Reason, right, and revolution: Kant and Locke. Philosophy & Public Affairs 36: 375–404.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Flikschuh, K. (2010) Kant’s sovereignty dilemma: A contemporary analysis. The Journal of Political Philosophy 18: 469–493.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Flikschuh, K. (2012) Personal autonomy and public authority. In: O. Sensen (ed.) Kant on Moral Autonomy (pp. 169–190). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Goodin, R. (2007) Enfranchising all affected interests, and its alternatives. Philosophy & Public Affairs 35: 40–68.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Goodin, R. (2017) ‘Proximity Principle, Adieu’, unpublished paper presented at APSA General Meeting 2017.

  13. Habermas, J. (2014) Plea for a constitutionalization of international law. Philosophy and Social Criticism 40: 5–12.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Hanna, R. (2017) Kant’s theory of judgment. In: E.N. Zalta (eds.) The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Winter 2017 Edition), https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2017/entries/kant-judgment/, accessed 01 November 2018.

  15. Hodgson, L.P. (2011) Kant on property rights and the state. Kantian Review 15: 57–87.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Hodgson, L.P. (2012) Realizing external freedom: The Kantian argument for a world state. In: E. Ellis (ed.) Kants Political Theory: Interpretations and Applications (pp. 101–134). University Park, PA: Penn State University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Huber, J. (2019) EU citizens in post-Brexit UK: The case for automatic naturalisation. Journal of European Integration. https://doi.org/10.1080/07036337.2019.1599883.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Jurkevics, A. (2019) Democracy in contested territory: On the legitimacy of global legal pluralism. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13698230.2019.1644584, accessed 25 August 2019.

  19. Kleingeld, P. (2012) Kant and Cosmopolitanism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Malpas, J. (2008) Place and Experience. A Philosophical Topography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Maus, I. (2015) Menschenrechte, Demokratie und Frieden. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Meckstroth, C. (2015) The struggle for Democracy. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Miller, D. (1995) On Nationality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Miller, D. (2010) Against global democracy. In: K. O’Neill and S. Breen (eds.) After the Nation. Critical Reflections on Post-nationalism (pp. 141–161). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Miller, D. (2011) Property and territory: Locke, Kant, and Steiner. The Journal of Political Philosophy 19: 90–109.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Miller, D. (2016) Neo-Kantian theories of self-determination: A critique. Review of International Studies 42: 858–875.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Moore, M. (2015) A Political Theory of Territory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Niesen, P. (2007) Colonialism and hospitality. Journal of International Political Theory 3: 90–108.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Niesen, P. (2012) Kosmopolitismus in einem Land. In: P. Niesen (ed.) Transnationale Gerechtigkeit und Demokratie (pp. 311–339). Campus: Frankfurt/New York.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Niesen, P. and Owen, D. (2014) Cosmopolitanism in one Country: A Right to Free Transnational Communication. APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper, https://ssrn.com/abstract=2454276.

  31. O’Neill, O. (1992) Vindicating Reason. In: P. Guyer (ed.) Cambridge Companion to Kant (pp. 280–308). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Owen, D. (2014) Human rights, freedom of movement and refugees. Journal for Human Rights/Zeitschrift für Menschenrechte 8: 50–65.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Pinheiro Walla, A. (2016) Cosmopolitan right and original common possession. Kant-Studien 107: 160–178.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Ripstein, A. (2009) Force and Freedom. Harvard, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Shachar, A. (2009) The Birthright Lottery: Citizenship and Global Inequality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Simmons, A. J. (1979) Moral Principles and Political Obligations. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Simmons, A. J. (2016) Boundaries of Authority. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Simmons, J. and Wellman, C. (2005) Is There a Duty to Obey the Law?. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Song, S. (2016) The significance of territorial presence and the rights of immigrants. In: S. Fine and L. Ypi (eds.) Migration in Political Theory (pp. 225–249). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Stilz, A. (2009) Liberal Loyalty. Princeton, NY: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Stilz, A. (2013) Occupancy rights and the wrong of removal. Philosophy & Public Affairs 41: 324–356.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Stilz, A. (2014) Territorial rights and national defence. In: C. Fabre and S. Lazar (eds.) The Morality of Defense War (pp. 203–228). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Stilz, A. (2019) Territorial Sovereignty. A Philosophical Exploration. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Tamir, Y. (1993) Liberal Nationalism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Waldron, J. (2002) Redressing historic injustice. University of Toronto Law Journal 52: 135–160.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Waldron, J. (2009) Proximity as the Basis of Political Community. Paper delivered at: Workshop on Theories of Territory, London, 21 February 2009, https://seis.bristol.ac.uk/~plcdib/territory/papers/Waldron-Proximity.pdf, accessed 1st August 2018.

  47. Waldron, J. (2011) The principle of proximity. NYU School of Law Public Research Law Paper No. 11–08.

  48. Warren, M. (2017) The all Affected Interests Principle in Democratic Theory and Practice. IHS Working Paper 145.

  49. Weinrib, J. (2016) Dimensions of Dignity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to the audience at the Justitia Amplificata postdoctoral workshop in Bad Homburg, where an earlier version of this article was presented. Many thanks in particular to Anna Jurkevics and two reviewers of this journal for helpful questions and comments, as well as Lisa Disch for additional guidance.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jakob Huber.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Huber, J. Putting proximity in its place. Contemp Polit Theory 19, 341–358 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41296-019-00357-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • proximity
  • authority
  • cosmopolitanism
  • citizenship