A Defence Of A Minimalist Account Of Cosmopolitan Justice


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



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

cross-culturally relevant.

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

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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

MLA 8th

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 29 May. 2024.


OSIMIRI, PETER . "A Defence Of A Minimalist Account Of Cosmopolitan Justice". Afribary, Afribary, 12 Apr. 2021. Web. 29 May. 2024. < 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 May 29, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/a-defence-of-a-minimalist-account-of-cosmopolitan-justice-2