Justifying Cosmopolitanism: A Methodological Critique

Claus Nielsen

in Justice in a Globalized World

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199593859
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731457 | DOI:
Justifying Cosmopolitanism: A Methodological Critique

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This chapter considers the different methodologies grounding the justification of cosmopolitan principles and shows that they are affected by significant difficulties. It distinguishes between two forms of cosmopolitanism: relational and non-relational. Proponents of the former problematically ground their defence of global egalitarian justice on the empirically dubious claim that there exists a basic global structure much like the basic structure of domestic societies. Proponents of the latter fail to offer a convincing defence of global equality because they give excessive weight to intuitions about highly counterfactual scenarios, which should be largely discounted when designing a theory of justice for the world we live in. Because both relational and non-relational cosmopolitans’ defence of global egalitarian justice rests on shaky grounds – either dubious empirical claims or unreliable moral intuitions – the chapter concludes that neither is vindicated.

Keywords: relational cosmopolitanism; non-relational cosmopolitanism; basic structure; intuitions; justice; assistance; demandingness; thought-experiments; Simon Caney; Charles Beitz

Chapter.  11504 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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