On the Ontological Status of the State

  title={On the Ontological Status of the State},
  author={Erik Ringmar},
  journal={European Journal of International Relations},
  pages={439 - 466}
  • Erik Ringmar
  • Published 1 December 1996
  • Philosophy
  • European Journal of International Relations
In which sense can we say that a state `exists'? According to the realist school, the state is an a priori given; according to the pluralist school, it is nothing but a collection of various sub-state actors. As I argue, however, neither solution is satisfactory. If we give the state a transcendental status, it disappears from the world; if we see it merely as a set of empirical attributes, it disappears in the world. The way out of this dilemma is to stop talking about what states really are… 
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