colonialism (1).png
Episode 13: Settler Colonialism / November 20, 2020

With Karl Martin Adam

Hosted by Hamish Stewart Jasmine Hunt

Edited by Signe Emilie Eriksen

Posted in Political Philosophy Main feed Ethics Philosophy of Immigration

Are borders always bad? Believe it or not, some philosophers think they are. Today we speak to Karl Martin Adam - a PhD candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - who argues that settler colonialism is a case where borders seem like quite a good thing. Jasmine Hunt and Hamish Stewart join him in conversation.

In today’s episode, Hamish Stewart and Jasmine Hunt talk to Karl Martin Adam about his PhD thesis. Karl expands on the immigration debate in philosophy, as well as explaining what exactly Settler Colonialism is. We then discuss whether the ‘open border’ view gets it wrong and about Karl’s preferred solution to the border debate - ‘republicanism’. We finish by talking about Karl’s gripes with philosophy.



00:53 – The philosophy of immigration debate overlooks settler colonialism

02:13 – What are some examples of settler colonialism?

04:18 – What are ‘open borders’ and ‘closed borders’?

05:50 – Borders are not always oppressive

07:12 – What is ‘domination’

10:10 – Borders as an institution that can prevent domination

10:15 – Why it matters that the ‘open border’ view implicitly endorses past settler colonialism.

13:35 – What objections does your ‘republicanist’ solution to the immigration debate receive?

15:07 – Can ‘republicanism’ actually justify colonialism?

17:01 – Real world implications – a shift in the conversation

18:28 – What’s wrong with philosophy, according to Karl


The dissertation

Adam, K., 2018. SETTLER COLONIALISM AND ARGUMENTS FOR OPEN BORDERS. [online] Carolina Digital Repository. Available at: <>

The philosophy of immigration debate:

2020. David Miller On Immigration. [podcast] Philosophy Bites. Available at: <http://spotify:episode:10bxzUiE2Ukahj89PXaAnT>

Domination: 2020. Domination (Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy). [online] Available at: <>