Why the all affected principle is groundless

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The all-affected principle is a widely accepted solution to the problem of constituting the demos. Despite its popularity, a basic question in relation to the principle has not received much attention: why does the fact that an individual is affected by a certain decision ground a right to inclusion in democratic decision-making about that matter? An answer to this question must include a reason that explains why an affected individual should be included because she is affected. We identify three such reasons in the literature - to wit, interest protection, self-government and welfare - and show why they all fail. We then propose two alternative reasons, equal relations and fairness, and show why they are also deficient. Surprisingly, the all-affected principle then appears groundless, which supports withholding belief in the all-affected principle or(/and) investing future research in identifying the thus-far unidentified reason why being affected grounds a claim to inclusion.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Moral Philosophy
Pages (from-to)571-596
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Democracy
  • Democratic inclusion
  • The all-affected principle
  • The all-subjected principle
  • The problem of constituting the demos
  • the all-subjected principle
  • the problem of constituting the demos
  • democracy
  • RULE
  • the all-affected principle
  • democratic inclusion


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