MA Dissertation: A Philosophical Investigation Into Seasteading

SeasteadingIn this post, I would like to publish my dissertation which I wrote for my MA in Philosophy & Public Affairs programme at University College Dublin. For the full file, click here:

Chhay Lin – A PHILOSOPHICAL INVESTIGATION INTO SEASTEADING AS A MEANS TO DISCOVER BETTER FORMS OF SOCIAL ORGANIZATION (2014)

Abstract

This dissertation aims at providing a philosophical investigation of the concept of seasteading from a libertarian anarchist perspective. My investigation revolves around the following research question: “given that governments are resistant to structural changes of governance, how can mankind discover better forms of social organization?”

I argue that seasteading can play an important role in creating an experimentation space where different social organizations can be tested so that mankind can discover governments that are best for human flourishing. In the first chapter, I maintain that one core focus of political philosophy is to deal with the realities of value pluralism and political disagreements. I also contend that the most common form of social organization, representative democracy, does not satisfactorily deal with these realities. Hence, we should look for political possibilities beyond representative democracies. In order to discover these possibilities, we should experiment with new forms of social organization. Chapter two discusses why there is currently little experimentation with social orders. I approach the issue from a meta-system level perspective and contend that all land on earth is more or less already claimed by states, which leaves little opportunity for people to start new societies on land. By applying the theory of monopoly economics, I maintain that the state’s monopoly on jurisdiction and coercion does not encourage them to provide good rules of law. Rather, it makes states extremely resistant to large-scale social changes. The obvious solution for finding better forms of governance then would be the introduction of competition into the industry of governments. Chapter three deals with the epistemological attitude required for the experimentation space. I maintain that this attitude consists of having a sociological imagination, being epistemologically modest, realizing that social order can emerge spontaneously, and that the utopian dream of a single perfect society is impossible. Chapter four discusses seasteading as the means by which the experimentation space could be realized. By homesteading the seas, a community can build and test new forms of social organization outside the scope of current governments’ control. It could generate new knowledge on social orders, thereby contributing to political philosophy and the social sciences. It could moreover also ease political tensions between citizens with different comprehensive doctrines. Finally, I raise two objections to seasteading and address them accordingly.

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