From a justificatory standpoint, perhaps the most basic question with respect to secession is what, if anything, provides the moral foundation for a group’s right to secede. My aim here is to make a start to answering this question. I do so, however, by considering a different, albeit closely related, question, namely what is the nature of the wrong done to members of a qualified group denied secession by the state that currently rules them? A compelling answer to this latter question, I suggest, will contribute significantly to a satisfactory answer of the former one.

Document Type

Post-print Article

Publication Date

Winter 2008

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2008, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. The definitive version is available at:

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9833.2008.00439.x

Full Citation: Lefkowitz, David. "On the Foundation of Rights to Political Self-Determination: Secession, Non-intervention, and Democratic Governance." Journal of Social Philosophy 39, no. 4 (Winter 2008): 492-511. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9833.2008.00439.x.