Justice Without Borders: A Reply to Nagel
Adil Ahmad Haque
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Law-Newark
The philosophy of international law embraces a variety of conceptual and normative tasks. Few of these tasks are as theoretically interesting or as morally important as the analysis and justification of principles of distributive justice extending between nations, either directly or by way of international institutions. This Essay approaches the question of global justice through a discussion of a recent article by Thomas Nagel, who takes the radical position that duties of distributive justice extend only within and not between rich and poor countries, and that shared membership in international institutions does not give rise to any additional obligations to eliminate arbitrary inequalities across borders. Nagel's philosophical argument turns repeatedly on legal concepts - such as responsibility and standing - and legal contexts - such as the creation and replacement of sovereign states - whose philosophical import remains obscured for want of legal analysis. Engagement with Nagel's views provides a window onto a new approach that avoids the excesses of the radical position while acknowledging the concerns that provide its motivation. The new approach fuses elements of liberal egalitarianism and republicanism, responding to conflicting impulses toward equality and partiality and to the relevance of international institutions in mediating duties of global justice.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: Global, distributive, justice, moral, political, philosophy, cosmopolitanism, equality, international, Nagelworking papers series
Date posted: January 27, 2005
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