Uncovering a tension: Democracy, immigration, and the nation-state

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


It is common to assume (a) that democracy is intrinsically valuable, and (b) that nation-states have the authority to exclude would-be immigrants from their territory. Are (a) and (b) in tension? This paper argues that they are. Every account of democracy’s intrinsic value suggests that nation-states lack the authority to exclude would-be immigrants. In fact, reflection on democratic values suggests an even more heterodox conclusion: nation-states should not be the privileged sites of decision-making that we often take them to be.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-169
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Philosophical Research
StatePublished - 2018


  • Democracy
  • Democratic values
  • Immigration
  • Right to exclude
  • Territorial exclusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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