Cosmopolitanism and Global Justice

Academic Year: 
Course Description: 

Master of Arts in Political Science Program - elective course
Master of Arts in Political Science (2 years) Program - elective course

The bulk 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 attend to the facts of global economic inequality. First, we will examine different versions of the thesis that our duties of justice are inherently range-limited and that it is justified to be partial towards our conationals. This is the ‘priority of compatriots’ thesis. Then we turn to various arguments aiming to demonstrate that the thesis is untenable. Subsequently, we will examine two different approaches to ground global distributive duties: the first approach maintains that our duties of justice towards other individuals globally are grounded in the nature and extent of our institutional interaction with them; to the extent that the interaction is sufficiently dense, such duties obtain. The other approach argues that the simple fact of global inequality, irrespective of what causes it and of the nature of the relationship between different persons, grounds a duty of justice to attend to that inequality. Next, we turn to views that develop a so-called political conception of justice: they argue that the demands of justice arise only within the context of the specific relationship that obtains between the state and its citizens. Finally, we take up the issue of transnational democracy: some authors argue that under the circumstances of global economic integration, the scope of collective political decision-making ought to include everyone who is affected by these decisions, and therefore the system of democratic nation-states is no longer satisfactory from a normative point of view. Others argue that the various conditions that are required for democratic decision-making to be legitimate are absent at the international level, and therefore transnational democracy is not desirable.

Learning Outcomes: 

Goals: Familiarizing with the main theoretical approaches to the problem of global
distributive justice and transnational democracy; enabling students to characterize and evaluate familiar international political and economic facts and developments in the terms of these theoretical accounts.
Learning outcomes: improving analytical skills through understanding, presenting and discussing complex theories, enhancing the ability to construct and evaluate normative arguments.

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