Compensation and Overcoming of Historical Injustice

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On the basis of Waldron’s supersession thesis, this article discusses the historical injustice argument and contends that in order to evaluate moral claims for restitution of territorial titles it is important to consider the legitimate expectations of citizens that have been formed historically and have been sanctioned by the state through institutional mechanisms of stabilization of expectations. The legitimate expectations of citizens form normative demands that cannot be disregarded when rectifying historical injustices. In his arguments in favour of the supersession thesis, Waldron does not give sufficient attention to the concept of ‘legitimate expectation’, even though the thesis is reinforced by this reference. Unlike exclusively restitutive and rectificatory measures, this paper relies on present considerations of the consequences of past injustices, all within the framework of a theory of justice. In this sense, compensation deals with the past, but in a forward-looking way.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRes Publica
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Compensation
  • Historical injustice
  • Jeremy Waldron
  • Legitime expectations
  • Supersession thesis


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