Taking Moral Equality Seriously: Egalitarianism and Immigration Controls

Journal of International Political Theory 8 (1-2):121-134 (2012)
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In this paper I re-state the egalitarian argument against the morality of immigration controls: such limits violate the central ethical commitment to moral equality. This means that immigration controls fail a fundamental moral test and represent the ethical failure of the liberal project of moral equality. I set this re-statement against recent arguments about what moral equality means, specifically Christopher Heath Wellman's use of Elizabeth Anderson's notion of relational equality. Wellman believes that Anderson's ideas seriously damage the egalitarian argument, but I argue that this is a misreading of her account. I conclude that any liberal attempt to morally justify immigration controls must fail through committing the basic logical error of ‘begging the question’.



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Phil Cole
University of the West of England

Citations of this work

Relational Equality and Immigration.Daniel Sharp - 2022 - Ethics 132 (3):644-679.
Beyond reason: the philosophy and politics of immigration.Phillip Cole - 2014 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 17 (5):503-520.
Justice in migration.Christine Straehle - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (2):245-265.
Justified state partiality and the vulnerable subject in migration.Christine Straehle - 2017 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 20 (6):736-744.

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References found in this work

What is the point of equality.Elizabeth Anderson - 1999 - Ethics 109 (2):287-337.
Contemporary political philosophy: an introduction.Will Kymlicka - 1990 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality.Michael Walzer - 1983 - Journal of Business Ethics 4 (1):63-64.
Bounds of Justice.Onora O'Neill - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Contemporary Political Philosophy. An Introduction.Will Kymlicka - 1993 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 55 (1):180-181.

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