Political philosophy is mostly what I do, and in one way or another, it’s organized around ideas about justice. Often, my work focuses on problems that are present in public political discourse, which then I try to approach by offering a solution to them that is tied to philosophically acceptable foundations. For a few years now, my work has been concerned with building a constructive theory of the “grounds of justice” at the global level. The book that is in the process of emerging is called "The Grounds of Justice: An Inquiry about the State in Global Perspective," and is under contract with Princeton University Press. Since I've been working on this project for a while, and since I have been presenting bits and pieces of it at numerous conferences and colloquia, I'm putting the first thirteen chapters up here, so that people who are interested in this work can see how it all fits together. The remaining four chapters and the epilogue and currently in progress.
My book formulates a view of justice at the global level “in between” the two standard views, that principles of justice either only apply within states, or apply to all human beings regardless of their state membership. There is no single justice-relationship that any two individuals either do or do not stand in. Instead, principles of justice respectively regulate the distribution of certain goods among those who share particular conditions and considerations in virtue of which a justification of the distribution of those goods is owed to them. These conditions and considerations are the “grounds” of justice. The book is organized around three major themes: a reconsideration of the state in light of increasing global political and economic interconnectedness; humanity’s collective ownership of the earth; and international political and economic structures. The grounds of justice discussed in the process are shared citizenship in a state; common humanity; collective ownership of the earth; shared membership in the global political and economic order; and shared subjection to the global trade regime. Topics in global justice that treated within this approach include the justifiability and normative peculiarity of the state in an age of globalization; the question of what is owed to individuals in virtue of being human; the epistemic limitations of reflections about the global order; the question of whether the global order harms the poor; fairness in trade; immigration; human rights; obligations to future generations; and obligations arising from climate change. The focus of my inquiry is the state, whose fundamental moral importance my approach vindicates, but also substantially qualifies. The emphasis throughout is on justifying the state to those respectively excluded from it. As far as the focus on the state is concerned, my work is aligned (e.g.) with that of J. Rawls and D. Miller, but differs from them especially in its emphasis on collective ownership, by supporting further-reaching duties outside of shared membership in a state based on other grounds of justice, and, as matter of general philosophical outlook, by seeking to justify states not merely to those respectively included in them, but also to those excluded. As far as the support for such duties and that goal of justifications of states are concerned, my work is aligned with that of cosmopolitans such as C. Beitz, T. Pogge, and S. Caney, but differs from them again in its emphasis on collective ownership as well as in its vindication of the moral significance of the state. By acknowledging different grounds of justice, the view central to this book (“pluralist internationalism”) preserves valid insights from all those approaches, but also substantially diverges from each.
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