Beyond the International Relations framework: an essay in descriptive global ethics

Journal of Global Ethics 1 (1):5 – 23 (2005)
Abstract
Discussions of global ethics?about the types of ethical claim made on individuals and groups, not only states, by individuals and groups around the world?have had to move beyond the categories inherited in the International Relations discipline. Many important positions are not captured by a framework developed for discussion of inter-state relations. The blindspots seem to reflect an outmoded expectation that (i) giving low normative weight to national boundaries correlates strongly with (ii) giving more normative weight to people beyond one's national boundaries, and vice versa; in other words that these two dimensions in practice reduce to one. The paper develops an enriched categorisation. We need to recognise the separate importance of the two dimensions, and thus distinguish various types of ?cosmopolitan? position, including many varieties of libertarian position which give neither national boundaries nor pan-human obligations much (if any) importance. This article is an extensively revised version of Working Paper 341, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague
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Thomas Nagel (2005). The Problem of Global Justice. Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (2):113–147.

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