Egalitarianism, ideals, and cosmopolitan justice

Philosophical Forum 36 (1):1–30 (2005)
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Abstract

Cosmopolitans believe that all human beings have equal moral worth and that our responsibilities to others do not stop at borders. Various cosmopolitans offer different interpretations of how we should understand what is entailed by that equal moral worth and what responsibilities we have to each other in taking our equality seriously. Two suggestions are that a cosmopolitan should endorse a 'global difference principle' and a 'principle of global equality of opportunity'. In the first part of this paper I examine whether these two suggestions are compelling. I argue against a global difference principle, but for an alternative 'needs-based minimum floor principle' (where these are not coextensive, as I explain). I develop a model of cosmopolitan justice, which allows us to address not only matters of global distributive justice, but other global justice issues as well. Though I support what I refer to as a negative version of the global equality of opportunity principle, I argue that a more positive version of the ideal remains elusive. In the second part of this paper, I reflect on what bearing these results have on two central sets of questions: First, what kind of ideal are we after in the domain of cosmopolitan justice and what practical implications can we reasonably expect from it? Second, what sort of ideal of egalitarianism is compelling and does my model of cosmopolitan justice adequately reflect the legitimate concerns of egalitarians?

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Author's Profile

Gillian Brock
University of Auckland

References found in this work

Famine, affluence, and morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3):229-243.
What is the point of equality.Elizabeth Anderson - 1999 - Ethics 109 (2):287-337.

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