Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Leviathan on a LeashA Theory of State Responsibility$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Sean Fleming

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691206462

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691206462.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 30 June 2022



The Question of Fulfilment

(p.144) 5 Distribution
Leviathan on a Leash

Sean Fleming

Princeton University Press

This chapter assesses issues of fulfilment, such as why subjects ought to bear the costs of their state's debts and reparative obligations. There are two common answers to this question. According to the authorization account of distribution, subjects should bear the costs if they have authorized the state, such as by accepting its protection. According to the participation account, subjects should bear the costs if they have participated in the state, such as by voting or using public services. The problem with both of these accounts is that they cannot justify distributing liability across generations. The chapter develops a Hobbesian account of distribution that explains why subjects who are neither authors nor participants should nevertheless be liable for acts of state. The central idea is 'authorization by fiction', which is based on Thomas Hobbes' idea of 'representation by fiction'. Much as guardians authorize representatives for wards, subjects authorize representatives for the people among them and after them — children and future subjects — who are incapable of authorizing representatives on their own. Authorization by fiction gives the young and the unborn a vicarious 'presence' in the state's actions, which renders them liable for the costs of discharging the state's responsibilities.

Keywords:   fulfilment, state responsibility, distribution, liability, authorization by fiction, representation by fiction, Thomas Hobbes, authorized representatives

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.