Working Paper I: The No-Border-Postulate

Posted: 4 Dec 2018

See all articles by Paul Tiedemann

Paul Tiedemann

Justus Liebig University Giessen

Date Written: November 1, 2018


The discussion about the no-border postulate, initiated by Joseph H. Carens in 1983, is developing an ever-increasing dynamism in both Anglo-American and German-speaking philosophy. There are two positions in this discussion:

(1) the view that states have the sovereign right to decide whether and under what conditions they grant entry and residence to aliens (the right to exclusion);

(2) the view that all people have a moral right to global free movement.

The essay defends the thesis that there is neither a right to exclusion nor a right to global free movement on the moral level. In the relationship between states and aliens the state of nature prevails. In the state of nature, there are no moral rights and duties other than human rights. Neither the alleged right to exclusion nor the alleged right to global free movement is a human right. Considering the current international and national law, nothing changes in this situation.

Keywords: border, national sovereignty, right to global free movement, right to exclusion, human rights

Suggested Citation

Tiedemann, Paul, Working Paper I: The No-Border-Postulate (November 1, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Paul Tiedemann (Contact Author)

Justus Liebig University Giessen ( email )

Licher Str. 64
Giessen, 35394

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