Cosmopolitan justice, the view that justice is a universal idea that should apply to all
persons irrespective of nationality has generated a lot of debate among political
philosophers. Earlier studies have conceived of justice either as a territorially-bounded
concept or as a trans-territorial idea, which must apply globally but failed to provide a
trans-culturally persuasive account of justice that would form the basis for regulating
transnational relations. This study, therefore, developed an account of cosmopolitan
justice founded on the minimum requirement of non-harm that would provide a transculturally
persuasive basis for regulating relations among nations.
The study adopted aspects of Kant‟s categorical imperative which emphasised respect
for persons as framework. Eight major texts on political philosophy and moral
philosophy including Miller‟s On Nationality (ON), Beitz‟s Political Theory and
International Relations (PTIR), Jone‟s Global Justice (GJ) and Pogge‟s World Poverty
and Human Rights (WPHR), O‟Neill‟s Bounds of justice (BJ), Kant‟s Groundwork of
the Metaphysics of Morals (GMM), Norman‟s The Moral Philosophers(MP) and
Singer‟s Practical Ethics (PE) were purposively selected. These works dealt extensively
with the question of the proper scope of justice. Conceptual analysis was used to clarify
key concepts such as justice, minimalism and non-harm while the critical method was
employed to examine earlier approaches to trans-national understanding of justice and
to develop a minimalist account of cosmopolitan justice.
Texts on political philosophy revealed the nature of the dispute between cosmopolitans
who argue that principles of justice must be extended to the global arena while anticosmopolitans
perceive justice as applicable only within national borders.
Cosmopolitans claim that the level of institutional ties that bind societies across the
world are morally significant and that the recognition of basic rights to a minimally
decent existence is a basis for cosmopolitan justice (PTIR, WPHR and GJ). Against this
view, anti-cosmopolitans contend that justice is a context-dependent norm that is only
applicable amongst co-nationals who share special associational bonds (ON). Text on
moral philosophy stressed the importance of moral equality of persons which imposes
on us the duty of beneficence and non-harm as core ethical principles that ought to
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regulate our interactions with others (GMM and PE). Critical intervention shows that
the approaches`` of earlier cosmopolitans and anti-cosmopolitans were inadequate on
account of their rigid emphasis on institutional and associational ties. In the
contemporary world the consequences of our actions increasingly affect distant others.
Paying particular attention to duty of non-harm owed all persons and the phenomenon
of transnational harm, the principle of justice remains relevant to individuals who do
not belong to a common nationality or institutional scheme. The principle of non-harm
thereby provides a more persuasive basis for evolving a theory of justice that will be
Causal responsibility for harm is sufficient to trigger the obligation of justice within
and across nations. A minimalist account of cosmopolitan justice founded on the
principle of non-harm, therefore, provides adequate basis for regulating transnational
Keywords: Cosmopolitan justice, Non-harm principle, Minimalism, Transnationalrelations
OSIMIRI, P (2021). A Defence Of A Minimalist Account Of Cosmopolitan Justice. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/a-defence-of-a-minimalist-account-of-cosmopolitan-justice-2
OSIMIRI, PETER "A Defence Of A Minimalist Account Of Cosmopolitan Justice" Afribary. Afribary, 12 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/a-defence-of-a-minimalist-account-of-cosmopolitan-justice-2. Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.
OSIMIRI, PETER . "A Defence Of A Minimalist Account Of Cosmopolitan Justice". Afribary, Afribary, 12 Apr. 2021. Web. 24 Mar. 2023. < https://afribary.com/works/a-defence-of-a-minimalist-account-of-cosmopolitan-justice-2 >.
OSIMIRI, PETER . "A Defence Of A Minimalist Account Of Cosmopolitan Justice" Afribary (2021). Accessed March 24, 2023. https://afribary.com/works/a-defence-of-a-minimalist-account-of-cosmopolitan-justice-2