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Leviathan on a LeashA Theory of State Responsibility$
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Sean Fleming

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691206462

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691206462.001.0001

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State Responsibility and Corporate Personality

(p.1) Introduction
Leviathan on a Leash

Sean Fleming

Princeton University Press

This chapter provides an overview of state responsibility. There are two contemporary theories of state responsibility. According to the agential theory, states can be held responsible because they are 'moral agents' like human beings, with similar capacities for deliberation and intentional action. According to the functional theory, states can be held responsible because they are legal persons that act vicariously through their officials. This book reconstructs and develops a forgotten understanding of state responsibility from Thomas Hobbes' political thought. It argues that the Hobbesian theory of state personality provides a richer understanding of state responsibility than the agential theory or the functional theory. Any cogent and complete theory of responsibility must answer three 'Fundamental Questions' about the entity in question: the Question of Ownership, the Question of Identity, and the Question of Fulfilment.

Keywords:   state responsibility, agential theory, functional theory, Thomas Hobbes, Hobbesian theory, political thought

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