Brock, Gillian, and . Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Account

2009, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Publisher: Gillian Brock develops a viable cosmopolitan model of global justice that takes seriously the equal moral worth of persons, yet leaves scope for defensible forms of nationalism and for other legitimate identifications and affiliations people have. Brock addresses two prominent kinds of skeptic about global justice: those who doubt its feasibility and those who believe that cosmopolitanism interferes illegitimately with the defensible scope of nationalism by undermining goods of national importance, such as authentic democracy or national self-determination. The model addresses concerns about implementation in the world, showing how we can move from theory to public policy that makes progress toward global justice. It also makes clear how legitimate forms of nationalism are compatible with commitments to global justice. Global Justice is divided into three central parts. In the first, Brock defends a cosmopolitan model of global justice. In the second, which is largely concerned with public policy issues, she argues that there is much we can and should do toward achieving global justice. She addresses several pressing problems, discussing both theoretical and public policy issues involved with each. These include tackling global poverty, taxation reform, protection of basic liberties, humanitarian intervention, immigration, and problems associated with global economic arrangements. In the third part, she shows how the discussion of public policy issues can usefully inform our theorizing; in particular, it assists our thinking about the place of nationalism and equality in an account of global justice.

Comment: This text is a comprehensive set of arguments concerning global economic justice, with application to areas such as taxation, immigration, and military-humanitarian intervention. It responds to a wide variety of literature, but takes as its starting point Rawls' Law of Peoples. Individuals chapters could be taught in a lower-level undergraduate class, while entire sections could be taught in an upper-division undergraduate class.

Cassidy, Lisa, and . Starving Children in Africa: Who Cares?

2005, Journal of International Women's Studies 7 (1): 84-96.

Abstract: The current state of global poverty presents citizens in the Global North with a moral crisis: Do we care? In this essay, I examine two competing moral accounts of why those in the North should or should not give care (in the form of charity) to impoverished peoples in the Global South. Nineteen years ago feminist philosopher Nel Noddings wrote in Caring that ‘we are not obliged to care for starving children in Africa’ (1986, p. 86). Noddings’s work belongs to the arena of care ethics – the feminist philosophical view that morality is about responding to, caring for, and preventing harm to those particular people to whom one has emotional attachments. By contrast, Peter Singer’s recent work, One World, advances an impartialist view of morality, which demands that we dispassionately dispense aid to the most needy (2002, p.154). Thus this question needs answering: am I obliged to give care to desperately poor strangers, and if so, which moral framework (Singer’s impartialism, or feminism’s care ethics) gives the best account of that obligation? I argue that as an American feminist I should care for Africans with whom I will never have a personal relationship. However, this obligation can be generated without relying on the impartialist understanding of morality.

Comment: This text responds to Peter Singer and Ned Noddings on the question of global poverty (though, one need not have read either previously as she provides an overview). It would be useful in a course that focused on questions of economic justice, poverty, care ethics, or charity.

Fabre, Cecile, and . Cosmopolitan War

2012, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Back matter: War is about individuals maiming and killing each other, and yet, it seems that it is also irreducibly collective, as it is fought by groups of people and more often than not for the sake of communal values such as territorial integrity and national self-determination. Cécile Fabre articulates and defends an ethical account of war in which the individual, as a moral and rational agent, is the fundamental focus for concern and respect–both as a combatant whose acts of killing need justifying and as a non-combatant whose suffering also needs justifying. She takes as her starting point a political morality to which the individual, rather than the nation-state, is central, namely cosmopolitanism. According to cosmopolitanism, individuals all matter equally, irrespective of their membership in this or that political community. Traditional war ethics already accepts this principle, since it holds that unarmed civilians are illegitimate targets even though they belong to the enemy community. However, although the traditional account of whom we may kill in wars is broadly faithful to that principle, the traditional account of why we may kill and of who may kill is not. Cosmopolitan theorists, for their part, do not address the ethical issues raised by war in any depth. Fabre’s Cosmopolitan War seeks to fill this gap, and defends its account of just and unjust wars by addressing the ethics of different kinds of war: wars of national defence, wars over scarce resources, civil wars, humanitarian intervention, wars involving private military forces, and asymmetrical wars.

Comment: This is a pivotal text on new war theory. It is best used as a primary text in advanced war theory, especially for those already familiar with the general literature on Just War.

Ferracioli, Luara, and . The Appeal and Danger of a New Refugee Convention

2014, Social Theory and Practice, 40 (1): 123-144.

Abstract: It is widely held that the current refugee Convention is inadequate with respect to its specification of who counts as a refugee and in its assignment of responsibility concerning refugees to states. At the same time, there is substantial agreement among scholars that the negotiation of a new Convention would lead states to extricate themselves from previously assumed responsibilities rather than sign on to a set of more desirable legal norms. In this paper, I argue that states should ultimately negotiate a new Convention, but that first they must alleviate the institutional and motivational constraints that make progress currently unattainable.

Comment: This text provides a clear introduction to the philosophical treatment of the 1951 Refugee Convention. It criticises contemporary international law concerning refugees and asylum, and discusses the constraints to feasability for a new legal regime. This text would work well as an introduction to the philosophical issues involved in granting refugee status, or within a specialized context concerning the right to immigrate/migrate. It would also have a place in a class on human rights that covered greivous human rights violations and their remedy.

Gheaus, Anca, and . The Right to Parent and Duties Concerning Future Generations

2016, Journal of Political Philosophy 24(1): Early Online.

Introduction: The argument, in a nutshell, is:

  • P1: Each child has a right, against all, to adequate life prospects.
  • P2: For each child who has the potential, as an adult, to be an adequate parent, adequate life prospects require enough resources to justly raise children.
  • C1: Thus, each child who has the potential to be an adequate parent has a right, against all, to enough resources to justly raise children.
  • P3: The right to enough resources to justly raise children includes the right to enough resources to provide one’s children with enough resources to justly raise children.
  • C2: Thus, each child who has the potential, as an adult, to be an adequate parent has a right, against all, to enough resources to provide their children with enough resources to justly raise children.

The argument continues ad infinitum because P3 is recurrent—it can be reiterated for any number of future generations.

  • C3: Thus, each child who has the potential, as an adult, to be an adequate parent has a right, against all, to enough resources to provide an indefinite number of successors with enough resources to justly raise children.

Comment: Novel approach to climate change and intergenerational justice. Article argues that we owe it to future generations to ensure that they have access to sufficient resources to realise their right to parent by providing an adequate life for their children. Would make interesting reading in a module on either environmental justice or on the family.

Lafont, Christina, and . Alternative Visions of a New Global Order: What Should Cosmopolitans Hope For?

2008, Ethics and Global Politics (1).

Abstract: In this essay, I analyze the cosmopolitan project for a new international order that Habermas has articulated in recent publications. I argue that his presentation of the project oscillates between two models. The first is a very ambitious model for a future international order geared to fulfill the peace and human rights goals of the UN Charter. The second is a minimalist model, in which the obligation to protect human rights by the international community is circumscribed to the negative duty of preventing wars of aggression and massive human rights violations due to armed conflicts such as ethnic cleansing or genocide. According to this model, any more ambitious goals should be left to a global domestic politics, which would have to come about through negotiated compromises among domesticated major powers at the transnational level. I defend the ambitious model by arguing that there is no basis for drawing a normatively significant distinction between massive human rights violations due to armed conflicts and those due to regulations of the global economic order. I conclude that the cosmopolitan goals of the Habermasian project can only be achieved if the principles of transnational justice recognized by the international community are ambitious enough to cover economic justice.

Comment: This article addresses topics that may be covered by a wide variety of courses. Lafont addresses both a Rawlsian and a Habermasian theory of global justice and international law, making this a good text to supplement a course that covers institutional proposals for global justice and fulfilling other cosmopolitan obligations.

Young, Iris Marion, and . Responsibility and Global Justice: A Social Connection Model

2006, Social Philosophy and Policy 23 (1): 102-130.

Abstract: The essay theorizes the responsibilities moral agents may be said to have in relation to global structural social processes that have unjust consequences. How ought moral agents, whether individual or institutional, conceptualize their responsibilities in relation to global injustice? I propose a model of responsibility from social connection as an interpretation of obligations of justice arising from structural social processes. I use the example of justice in transnational processes of production, distribution and marketing of clothing to illustrate operations of structural social processes that extend widely across regions of the world. The social connection model of responsibility says that all agents who contribute by their actions to the structural processes that produce injustice have responsibilities to work to remedy these injustices. I distinguish this model from a more standard model of responsibility, which I call a liability model. I specify five features of the social connection model of responsibility that distinguish it from the liability model: it does not isolate perpetrators; it judges background conditions of action; it is more forward looking than backward looking; its responsibility is essentially shared; and it can be discharged only through collective action. The final section of the essay begins to articulate parameters of reasoning that agents can use for thinking about their own action in relation to structural injustice

Comment: This text responds to theories of individual responsibility for global distributive justice proposed by John Rawls, David Miller, and Onora O'Neill. It would work well as a response to them, but also contains overviews of their positions (i.e. it isn't strictly necessary to be familiar with their body of work). The text contains illustrative examples of understanding collective responsibilities for injustice, such as goods produced in sweatshops. The text would work well in a course that covered distributive justice, social responsibility, or global justice.