Cosmopolitanism and Global Justice - Not offered in AY 2022-23

Undergraduate Program Status

Course Level: 
Course Open to: 
Students on-site
US Credits: 
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Course Description: 

This course explores some of the central issues of political morality as they apply at the international level. Traditionally, political theory has discussed the problems of the relationship between the state and its citizens. In recent decades, its scope has been expanded to cover the morality of the relation between states, and especially the relation between persons globally. These questions include, among others, the problems of global poverty and inequality, the legitimacy of international institutions, the morality of international migration, and the morality of war and peace. The first section of this course will be dedicated to the discussion of global distributive justice, or the ground and extent of the duties of individuals and political institutions to alleviate global economic inequality. We will examine different versions of the thesis that our duties of justice are restricted to our fellow-citizens. Then we turn to various arguments aiming to show that the obligations of distributive justice apply globally. Last, we examine the issue of justice in international trade: does the fact that we live in a world of international trade give rise to special principles of justice? In the second part of the course, we take up the issue of international legitimacy: what standards of legitimacy apply to international institutions? Are they subject to the same democratic standards as the institutions of nation states, or different norms apply to them? What are the arguments for and against global government? In the third part, we are turning to the problem of the morality of immigration. What, if anything is the basis of the moral right of nation states to exclude non- citizens who want to enter into and settle in their territory? Do individuals have a fundamental right to immigrate? Do special circumstances, such as “brain drain”, justify restrictions on immigration or emigration?