Duties of Minimal Wellbeing and Their role in Global Justice

Abstract

This thesis is the first step in a research project which aims to develop an accurate and robust theory of global justice. The thesis concerns the content of our duties of global justice, under strict compliance theory. It begins by discussing the basic framework of my theory of global justice, which consists in two aspects: duties of minimal wellbeing, which are universal, and duties of fairness and equality, which are associative and not universal. With that in place, it briefly discusses the nature of duties of fairness and equality. I shall argue that they are associative, because they are derived from the form of cooperation at hand; and that there are three kinds of them in our contemporary world: states, local cooperation and trans-state cooperation. It is from their forms of cooperation that these duties are derived. After that, the thesis focuses exclusively on duties of minimal wellbeing. Against the usual account of these duties - the human-flourishing account - I argue for my human-life account. This account argues that the function of these duties is to secure a human life for individuals; and it begins with a Razian conception of wellbeing, which states that the wellbeing of an individual is fundamentally constituted by: (a) the satisfaction of his biological needs, and (b) his success in whole-heartedly pursuing socially defined and determined goals and activities which are in fact valuable. An account of what constitutes a human life is then derived from this conception of wellbeing – it is a life that consists in having a level of wellbeing that is higher than the satisfaction of biological needs, where this is constituted by the pursuit of goals and activities with a sense of what is worth doing; and this in turn consists in: (a) being able to forms ideas of what is worth doing, (b) being able to revise them in light of further reasons, and (c) being able to coordinate one's actions according to them. I then determine the specific objects of duties of minimal wellbeing (means for the satisfaction of biological needs, education, physical security, freedom of belief, association and expression, freedom of non-harmful conduct, and minimal resources), by determining what is involved in securing such a human life for individuals

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Ambrose Y. K. Lee
University of Surrey

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References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 1651 - Harmondsworth,: Penguin Books. Edited by C. B. Macpherson.

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