Feb 2021

Labont Seminar: Davide Pala


February 22, 2021

Davide Pala, Non-domination Without Rights? An Impossibility 

22 February, h 16.00, Webex

For republicans, non-domination flourishes when individuals are free citizens and the rights usually associated with this status are acknowledged and protected. The opposite is likewise true: when individuals are deprived of their rights and turned into slaves or stateless people they are dominated. If so, there seems to be a close relation between non-domination and rights. Yet, what relation, more precisely, ties the two concepts? In this paper, I argue that rights and non-domination are related notions indeed, in that rights actually are a conceptually necessary constituent of non-domination. Alternatively said, rights partly define the very concept of non-domination — call this the constitutive view. This is because non-domination possesses certain features that only rights can express and shape. In particular, only rights can express the idea of authority that non-domination signifies and the respect that it demands; the kind of non-arbitrariness as accountability that it requires; and its robustness. As such, non-domination without rights is an impossibility, and, contra the mainstream view, republicanism is necessarily rights-based. The paper concludes by outlining what rights in particular are needed to enjoy non-domination.