Christopher Morris is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Maryland. His interests are in moral and political philosophy, practical ethics, legal theory, and the theory of practical rationality. Some of his current research develops the implications of his book An Essay on the Modern State (Cambridge University Press, 1998) for international affairs and world order and, in particular, legitimacy. He was for many years associated with CREA, a laboratory of the CNRS at the École Polytechnique in Paris.



Are There Any Legitimate States?
Modern states claim a number of powers, often summarized by the notion of sovereignty. These powers include the right to rule, namely the right to make, adjudicate, and enforce laws on citizens and other subjects. And the latter are supposed to be obligated to obey these laws unless excused or exempted by the state. An important question is whether these claims of states are credible. Legitimate states are thought to possess these powers, but Morris shall suggest that states are not legitimate in the relevant sense of the term. Consequently states may not be sovereign and their just powers are considerably weaker than we usually think.

Time: 7:30 pm
Location: Ukrainian Institute of America / Library Room