Thomas Nagel 's ' The Problem Of Global Justice ' Essay

1668 Words Oct 20th, 2016 7 Pages
In this paper I will refute Thomas Nagel’s relational approach to justice, in which he claims that justice only applies within the boundaries of a sovereign state. I will refute this claim by showing that national boundaries are arbitrary and that the cosmopolitan view of justice must be obeyed. A more comprehensive principle of morality is offered.
In Nagel’s paper, ‘The Problem of Global Justice’, he defends a political conception of socioeconomic/redistributive justice. A political conception of justice maintains that justice is a political feature: the existence of sovereign states ‘…is precisely what gives the value of justice its application, by putting the fellow citizens of a sovereign state into a relation that they do not have with the rest of humanity, an institutional standard of fairness and equality that fill out the context of justice’ (p.120). Nagel’s view of justice is a relational approach because it holds that justice arises through relationships between people. Nagel argues that social justice within national boundaries cannot transcend globally because citizens are the “subjects and authors” of the rules of justice that apply to them. Nagel therefore assumes that social justice varies from nation to nation and it is not acceptable for a nation state to impose views of justice on citizens of different nations. A nation state in the context of social justice is distinct and is defined by: 1) the common set of coercively imposed laws by which people who…

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