Journal of Political Philosophy 16 (3):245-271 (2008)

Saladin Meckled-Garcia
University College London
Cosmopolitan critics attack the scope-limitation of justice of egalitarian liberal theorists to states. They treat justice as the production of a given set of outcomes for people regardless of location or relationship. However, in doing so they either ignore the relevant agent towards whom principles of justice are addressed or see the question of agency as a practical, derivative question, of a secondary character. This paper argues that a principle of justice without a clearly justified agent is not a genuine principle at all. This is what writers like Rawls mean by the "subject" of justice (analogous to the grammatical subject of a sentence, i.e.,the agent). We should reflect on agents and why they would or would not justifiably carry certain burdens for others and what kind of benefits or goods they are able to secure. The answers to those questions explain why the idea of cosmopolitan global justice is incomplete, either requiring a global basic structural agency or not applying because no relevant agent is present that can create cooperative arrangements between individual persons across the globe. Other moral principles will still apply globally, but they will be distinct from those that apply to basic-structural agencies. This account is not a practice dependence account, as it bases the distinctness of moral and political principles on purely moral and value-based considerations.
Keywords cosmopolitanism  global justice  international justice  Agency  Subject of justice  global poverty  Rawls  Law of peoples  non-practice dependence
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9760.2007.00281.x
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References found in this work BETA

The Problem of Global Justice.Thomas Nagel - 2005 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (2):113-147.
Institutions and the Demands of Justice.Liam B. Murphy - 1998 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 27 (4):251-291.
Severe Poverty as a Violation of Negative Duties.Thomas Pogge - 2005 - Ethics and International Affairs 19 (1):55-83.
Constructing Justice for Existing Practice: Rawls and the Status Quo.Aaron James - 2005 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (3):281-316.

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The Many, Not the Few: Pluralism About Global Distributive Justice.Helena de Bres - 2012 - Journal of Political Philosophy 20 (3):314-340.

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