Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Thom Brooks, "Global Justice and Politics"

This essay can be downloaded here and it is forthcoming in Fred D'Agostino and Jerry Gaus (eds), Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy. The abstract:

"The history of political philosophy has been largely focused on the problem of justice within borders. Contemporary political philosophers have only begun more recently to draw greater attention to problems of global justice rather than to domestic justice alone: they are concerned about identifying a just international distributive justice. The most important issue has been how best to address severe poverty. Are there duties to provide support for those in severe poverty and, if so, who has these duties? What support may be justified? These are the most pressing and challenging questions confronting political philosophers today.


This chapter examines three different approaches to how global justice and politics might address the problem of severe poverty. The first approach argues that we have positive duties to assist those in need. They argue that we have a duty to assist where there are others in need irrespective of whether or not we contributed to their situation. A second approach claims that we have negative duties to those in need that arise because we have contributed to their severe poverty. Finally, a third approach argues that our responsibilities to those in need are not a matter of choosing between our positive or negative duties, but that these duties should be understood within a wider context of our remedial responsibilities. Our focus should be on identifying who has a responsibility to remedy suffering elsewhere and this requires a wider perspective to cover all cases. Each approach is considered in turn in a sympathetic analysis where the focus is on presenting each in its best light and allowing readers to judge for themselves which is most worth defending."

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