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Bounded and cosmopolitan justice


Since antiquity justice has been thought of as a political or civic virtue, more recently as belonging in a ‘bounded society’,John Rawls relies on the idea of a bounded society throughout his work. References to Rawls's writings cited here may be abbreviated in subsequent footnotes: A Theory of Justice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971); ‘Themes in Kant's Moral Philosophy’ (1989), in Collected Papers, Samuel Freeman (ed.), (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), pp. 497–528; Political Liberalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993); The Law of Peoples (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999). or as a primary task of states.This view evidently underlies the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948; the text uses a varied range of seemingly nonequivalent terms, including member states, peoples, nations and countries; a coherent reading of the document requires us to take all of these as referring to states. All such views assume that the context of justice has boundaries, which demarcate those who are to render and to receive justice from one another from others who are to be excluded. Yet the view that justice is intrinsically bounded sits ill with the many claims that it is cosmopolitan, owed to all regardless of location or origin, race or gender, class or citizenship. The tension between moral cosmopolitanism and institutional anti-cosmospolitanism has been widely discussed over the last twenty years, but there is still a lot of disagreement about its prpoer resolution.A selection from this literature might begin by noting Charles Beitz, Political Theory and International Relations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1979), ‘Cosmopolitan Ideals and National Sentiment’,Journal of Philosophy, 80 (1983), pp. 591–600 and ‘Cosmopolitan Liberalism and the State System’, in Chris Brown (ed.) Political Restructuring in Europe: Ethical Perspectives, (London: Routledge, 1994); Simon Caney, ‘Global Equality of Opportunity and the Sovereignty of States’, in International Justice, ed. Anthony Coates (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), and ‘Cosmopolitan Justice and Equalizing Opportunities’, forthcoming in Metaphilosophy; Joseph Carens, ‘Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders’, Review of Politics , 49 (1987), pp. 251–73; Charles Jones, Global Justice: Defending Cosmopolitanism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999); David Miller, ‘The Nation State: A Modest Defence’, in Political Restructuring in Europe, Chris Brown (ed.), pp. 137–62 and ‘The Limits of Cosmopolitan Justice’ in International Society: Diverse Ethical Perspectives, David R. Mapel and Terry Nardin (eds.) (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press), Thomas Pogge, ‘Cosmopolitanism and Sovereignty’ in Political Restructuring in Europe, Chris Brown (ed.), pp. 89–122 and ‘An Egalitarian Law of Peoples’, Philosophy and Public Affairs, 23 (1994), pp. 195–224; Onora O'Neill, ‘Justice and Boundaries, in Political Restructuring in Europe, Chris Brown (ed.), pp. 69–88 and Bounds of Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), Henry Shue Basic Rights: Subsistence, Affluence and US Foreign Policy, 2nd edn. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996).

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Review of International Studies
  • ISSN: 0260-2105
  • EISSN: 1469-9044
  • URL: /core/journals/review-of-international-studies
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