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Justice in a Globalized WorldA Normative Framework$
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Laura Valentini

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199593859

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199593859.001.0001

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Assessing the Cosmopolitan Ideal

Assessing the Cosmopolitan Ideal

(p.23) 2 Assessing the Cosmopolitan Ideal
Justice in a Globalized World

Claus Nielsen

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the practical implications of the cosmopolitan ideal of a just world order, and discusses ‘the guidance critique’ of this ideal: the claim that cosmopolitan theories are too idealistic to guide action in real-world circumstances. It argues that proponents of this critique either misapply cosmopolitan principles, or have unreasonable expectations regarding the sort of guidance a theory of justice can plausibly deliver. Theories of justice do not answer questions such as: ‘What specific actions ought we to take, here and now?’ Instead, they offer normative frameworks for guiding our thinking with respect to such questions. Because cosmopolitanism does provide a distinctive normative framework – that is, it insists that our international distributive duties are grounded in justice, as opposed to humanitarian assistance – it fulfils the guidance requirements that can plausibly be placed on a theory of justice.

Keywords:   cosmopolitanism, guidance, ideal theory, G.A. Cohen, John Rawls, realistic utopia, feasibility, global despotism, moral motivation, institutional design

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