Departmental Colloquium: Anna Stilz (Princeton)

Thursday February 25, 2021
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Queen's University, Zoom

Title: Are Citizens Culpable for State Action?

Abstract: International law holds that states are holistically responsible for their acts. Yet what does the ascription of responsibility to the state imply about the responsibility of its citizens? This paper argues that most citizens in a representative democracy bear culpability in association with their state’s wrongful acts. Most democratic citizens can be blamed for empowering representatives to act on their behalf, and then failing to adequately oversee and dissent from the specific wrongful decisions their representatives made. Drawing on theories of representation, I argue that in certain cases, though A does not directly participate in B’s action, still the action is undertaken on A’s behalf and in A’s name, such that we can appropriately regard A as bearing some responsibility for it.

For further information, contact Meesha Paul (

Departmental Colloquium: Anna Stilz (Poster PNG 184KB)