1st Edition

Rectifying Historical Injustice Debating the Supersession Thesis

Edited By Lukas H. Meyer, Timothy Waligore Copyright 2023
    154 Pages
    by Routledge

    154 Pages
    by Routledge

    Calls for redress of historical wrongs regularly make headlines around the world. People dispute the degree to which justice should be concerned with righting past wrongs, with some arguing that justice should be primarily focused on claims arising from present disadvantage. Proponents and sceptics of restitution, compensation, and other forms of historical redress have engaged with the thesis that historical injustice can be superseded, the idea that changing circumstances following historical injustices can alter what justice later requires. The “supersession thesis,” developed by legal and political philosopher Jeremy Waldron, has been challenged, both conceptually and in terms of its possible application and implications.

    This is the first book to critically assess how the supersession thesis might be reconstructed, challenged, or applied to empirical cases, with an eye toward larger questions surrounding the temporal orientation of justice. Cases examined include Indigenous peoples, linguistic injustice, and climate change. The edited volume includes contributions by established and junior scholars from philosophy, law, American Indian Studies, and political science, who draw from Indigenous thought, settler colonial theory, liberalism, theories of historical entitlements, and structural injustice theories. It concludes with a reply by Jeremy Waldron.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy.

    1. Superseding historical injustice? New critical assessments

    Lukas H. Meyer and Timothy Waligore

    2. Colonialism and rights supersession: a Kant-inspired perspective

    Julio Montero

    3. Superseding structural linguistic injustice? Language revitalization and historically-sensitive dignity-based claims

    Seunghyun Song

    4. The supersession thesis, climate change, and the rights of future people

    Santiago Truccone-Borgogno

    5. Group agency and the challenges of repairing historical injustice

    Jeff Spinner-Halev

    6. Supersession, non-ideal theory, and dominant distributive principles

    Burke A. Hendrix

    7. Indigenous governance now: settler colonial injustice is not historically past

    Esme G. Murdock

    8. The supersession of Indigenous understandings of justice and morals

    Gordon Christie

    9. Supersession: A reply

    Jeremy Waldron


    Lukas H. Meyer is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Graz, Austria. He has written and edited numerous books, articles, and encyclopaedia entries on intergenerational justice, historical injustice, and climate change ethics. He is one of the two speakers of Cluster of Excellence Climate Change Graz.

    Timothy Waligore is Associate Professor of Political Science at Pace University in New York, USA. His publications on reparations, Indigenous peoples, Immanuel Kant, and global justice have appeared in Moral Philosophy and PoliticsPolitics, Philosophy & Economics; and Public Reason. He co-edited (with Buckinx and Trejo-Mathys) Domination and Global Political Justice (Routledge, 2015).