This chapter outlines the main ideas of my book National responsibility and global justice. It begins with two widely held but conflicting intuitions about what global justice might mean on the one hand, and what it means to be a member of a national community on the other. The first intuition tells us that global inequalities of the magnitude that currently exist are radically unjust, while the second intuition tells us that inequalities are both unavoidable and fair once national responsibility (...) is allowed to operate. This conflict might be resolved either by adopting a cosmopolitan theory of justice (which leaves no room for national responsibility) or by adopting a ?political? theory of justice (which denies that questions of distributive justice can arise beyond the walls of the sovereign state). Since neither resolution is satisfactory, the chapter defends the idea of national responsibility and proposes a new theory of global justice, whose main elements are the protection of basic human rights worldwide, and fair terms of interaction between independent political communities. (shrink)
Nationalism is often dismissed today as an irrational political creed with disastrous consequences. Yet most people regard their national identity as a significant aspect of themselves, see themselves as having special obligations to their compatriots, and value their nation's political independence. This book defends these beliefs, and shows that nationality, defined in these terms, serves valuable goals, including social justice, democracy, and the protection of culture. National identities need not be illiberal, and they do not exclude other sources of personal (...) identity, such as ethnicity or religion. An ethics that gives weight to special relationships is more effective in motivating people to pursue justice and other values because it connects peoples’ duties to their identity; but this is consistent with recognizing some universal values, such as human rights. There are strong reasons for making the boundaries of states and nations coincide wherever possible, but in other cases, nations can achieve forms of self‐determination that fall short of full sovereignty. Multicultural arguments in favour of identity politics and special rights for minority groups ignore the benefits that such groups derive from participating in a shared national identity and the kind of democratic politics that such an identity makes possible. Although national identities are often said to be in decline in an increasingly globalized world, they serve such important purposes that our aim should be to rebuild them in a form that makes them more accessible to excluded cultural minorities. (shrink)
This article by David Miller is widely considered a standard defense of the (once) conventional view on immigration restrictionism, namely that (liberal) states generally have free authority to restrict immigration, save for a few exceptions.
This article attacks the view that global justice should be understood in terms of a global principle of equality. The principle mainly discussed is global equality of opportunity – the idea that people of similar talent and motivation should have equivalent opportunity sets no matter to which society they belong. I argue first that in a culturally plural world we have no neutral way of measuring opportunity sets. I then suggest that the most commonly offered defences of global egalitarianism – (...) the cosmopolitan claim that human lives have equal value, the argument that a persons nationality is a morally arbitrary characteristic, and the more empirical claim that relationships among fellow-nationals are no longer special in a way that matters for justice – are all defective. If we fall back on the idea of equality as a default principle, then we have to recognize that pursuing global equality of opportunity systematically would leave no space for national self-determination. Finally, I ask whether global inequality might be objectionable for reasons independent of justice, and argue that the main reason for concern is the inequalities of power that are likely to emerge in a radically unequal world. (shrink)
Ethical theories normally make room both for global duties to human beings everywhere and special duties to those we are attached to in some way. Such a split-level view requires us to specify the kind of attachment that can ground special duties, and to explain the comparative force of the two kinds of duties in cases of conflict. Special duties are generated within groups that are intrinsically valuable and not inherently unjust, where the duties can be shown to be integral (...) to relationships within the group. Since nations can be shown to meet these conditions, acknowledging special obligations towards compatriots is justified. However for such partiality to be reasonable, it must be balanced against recognition of duties of global justice. These duties include duties to respect human rights and duties of fairness towards non-nationals. Weighing such duties against domestic duties of social justice is not a simple task, and the outcome should depend on the precise specification of the duty at stake. In particular, the duty to respect human rights fragments into four sub-duties whose force when set against local duties is markedly different. (shrink)
This book explores the various aspects of social justice--to each according to his rights, to each acording to his desert, and to each according to his need--comparing the writings of Hume, Spencer, and Kropotkin. Miller demonstrates that there are radical differences in outlook on social justice between societies, and that these differences can be explained by reference to features of the social structure.
This paper examines the idea of human rights, and how they should be justified. It begins by reviewing Peter Jones?s claim that the purpose of human rights is to allow people from different cultural backgrounds to live together as equals, and suggests that this by itself provides too slender a basis. Instead it proposes that human rights should be grounded on human needs. Three difficulties with this proposal are considered. The first is the problem of whether needs are sufficiently objective (...) for this purpose, to which it responds by drawing a distinction between human needs proper and societal needs. The second is the problem of overshoot: human needs are more expansive than human rights. It responds to this by arguing that where needs conflict, we make trade-offs before specifying the optimum set of human rights. The third is the problem of undershoot: needs cannot be used to ground civil and political rights. Here it suggests that some of these rights can be grounded directly in needs, others can be justified instrumentally, and yet others grounded in the human need for recognition. Finally the paper returns to Jones, and asks which approach to human rights is better able to justify them within both liberal and non-liberal cultures. (shrink)
This paper contrasts universalist approaches to justice with contextualist approaches. Universalists hold that basic principles of justice are invariant they apply in every circumstance in which questions of justice arise. Contextualists hold that different principles apply in different contexts, and that there is no underlying master principle that applies in all. The paper argues that universalists cannot explain why so many different theories of justice have been put forward, nor why there is so much diversity in the judgements that (...) ordinary people make. Several strategies open to universalists are considered and found to be wanting. Contextualism is defended against the charge that it cannot explain why contextually specific principles are all principles of justice, the charge that it can offer no practical guidance when principles conflict, and the charge that it inevitably collapses into a form of conventionalism. Key Words: justice universalism contextualism conventionalism Rawls Walzer. (shrink)
My object in this paper is to defend the view that national boundaries may be ethically significant. The duties we owe to our compatriots may be more extensive than the duties we owe to strangers, simply because they are compatriots. On the face of it, such a view is hardly outlandish. On the contrary almost all of us, including our leaders, behave as though it were self-evidently true. We do not, for instance, hesitate to introduce welfare measures on the grounds (...) that their benefits will be enjoyed only by Americans, or Britons, or whomever. Why, then, is it worth defending this view at length? Precisely because there is a powerful thrust in the ethical theories that are most prominent in our culture toward what I shall call universalism: namely, the view that the subject matter of ethics is persons considered merely as such, independent of all local connections and relations; and that the fundamental questions of ethics can be posed in some such form as: What duties do I owe to my fellow human beings? What rights do they have against me?'. (shrink)
Can we conceive of a market economy that fulfils the ideals of socialism? In this book, David Miller provides a comprehensive examination, from the standpoint of political theory, of an economy in which market mechanisms retain a central role, but in which capitalist patterns of ownership have been superseded.
Cosmopolitanism, originally a doctrine of world citizenship, has come in recent political philosophy to mean simply an ethical outlook in which every human being is equally an object of moral concern. However ethical cosmopolitans slide from this moral truism to deny, controversially, that as agents we have special duties of limited scope. Political communities create relations of reciprocity between their citizens and pursue projects that reflect culturally specific values and beliefs, generating special duties among fellow-members. Strong cosmopolitanism would require the (...) creation of a world government, and this could only be an imperialist project in which existing cultural differences were either nullified or privatised. (shrink)
Legitimate states have a general right to control their borders and decide who to admit as future citizens. Such decisions, however, are constrained by principles of justice. But which principles? To answer this we have to analyse the multifaceted relationships that may hold between states and prospective immigrants, distinguishing on the one hand between those who are either inside or outside the state’s territory, and on the other between refugees, economic migrants and ‘particularity claimants’. The claims of refugees, stemming from (...) their human rights, are powerful though limited in scope: they hold against eligible states generally rather than the specific one to which they apply for asylum. Economic migrants cannot claim a right to be admitted as such, but only a right to have legitimate selection criteria applied to them. Particularity claimants, such as those seeking redress for harms inflicted on them or reward for the services they have rendered to the state, must show why awarding a right to enter is the appropriate response to their claims. Finally, does justice enable us to establish admission priorities between these different categories of migrants? (shrink)
Newton’s argument for universal gravitation in the Principia eventually rested on the third “Rule of Philosophizing,” which warrants the generalization of “qualities of bodies.” An analysis of the rule and the history of its development indicate that the term ‘quality’ should be taken to include both inherent properties of bodies and relations among systems of bodies, generalized into `laws'. By incorporating law‐induction into the rule, Newton could legitimately rebuff objections to his theory by claiming that universal gravitation was justified by (...) his method even if he could not specify the cause of gravity . †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, Duke University, 201 West Duke Building, Box 90743, Durham, NC 27708; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Michael Walzer has argued that `distributive justice presupposes a bounded world', but what counts as a relevant boundary? The article criticizes two arguments holding that boundaries should not count at all: a negative argument that there is no relevant difference between human relationships within and across state borders and a positive argument that principles of justice must, as a matter of logic, be universal in scope. It then examines three rival accounts of the bounded scope of distributive justice : the (...) cooperative practice view, the political coercion view, and the common identity view. Although each has plausible arguments to support it, none turns out to give necessary and sufficient conditions for principles of distributive justice to apply. Importantly, however, the idea of social justice has emerged within political units that to a large extent combine the three features in question. To the extent that this overlap breaks down, we will need to develop new theories of transnational justice. (shrink)
Cognitively-oriented theories have dominated the recent history of the study of emotion. However, critics of this perspective suggest the role of the body in the experience of emotion is largely ignored by cognitive theorists. As an alternative to the cognitive perspective, critics are increasingly pointing to William James’ theory, which emphasized somatic aspects of emotions. This emerging emphasis on the embodiment of emotions is shared by those in the field of AI attempting to model human emotions. Behavior-based agents in AI (...) are attempts to model the role the body might play in the experiencing of emotions. Progress in creating such behavior-based models that function in their environments has been slow, suggesting some potential problems with Jamesian alternatives to cognitive perspectives of emotions. Heidegger’s and Merleau-Ponty’s conceptions of embodiment are suggested as alternatives to James’ and as means for addressing the shortcomings of the cognitive perspective. (shrink)
If the block universe view is correct, the future and the past have similar status and one would expect physical theories to involve final as well as initial boundary conditions. A plausible consistency condition between the initial and final boundary conditions in non-relativistic quantum mechanics leads to the idea that the properties of macroscopic quantum systems, relevantly measuring instruments, are uniquely determined by the boundary conditions. An important element in reaching that conclusion is that preparations and measurements belong in a (...) special class because they involve many subsystems, at least some of which do not form superpositions of their physical properties before the boundary conditions are imposed. It is suggested that the primary role of the formalism of standard quantum mechanics is to provide the consistency condition on the boundary conditions rather than the properties of quantum systems. Expressions are proposed for assigning a set of (unmeasured) physical properties to a quantum system at all times. The physical properties avoid the logical inconsistencies implied by the no-go theorems because they are assigned differently from standard quantum mechanics. Since measurement outcomes are determined by the boundary conditions, they help determine, rather than are determined by, the physical properties of quantum systems. (shrink)
This Introduction introduces readers to the concepts of political philosophy: authority, democracy, freedom and its limits, justice, feminism, multiculturalism, and nationality. Accessibly written and assuming no previous knowledge of the subject, it encourages the reader to think clearly and critically about the leading political questions of our time. THe book first investigates how politcial philosophy tackles basic ethical questions such as 'how should we live together in society?' It furthermore looks at political authority, discusses the reasons society needs politics in (...) the first place, explores the limitations of politics, and asks if there are areas of life that shouldn't be governed by politics. Moreover, the book explores the connections between political authority and justice, a constant theme in political philosophy, and the ways in which social justice can be used to regulate rather than destroy a market economy. In his travels through this realm, Miller covers why nations ar the natural units of government and wonders if the rise of multiculturalism and transnational co-operation will change all this, and asks in the end if we will ever see the formation of a world government. (shrink)