U.S. Intellectual History Blog

Rawls, Religion, and Identity


Kwame Anthony Appiah has a fascinating essay in the December 9 edition of The New York Review of Books. In it, he reviews A Brief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and Faith, a Harvard philosophy student’s senior thesis, written in 1942, that would never have merited publication if that student, John Rawls, had not gone on to write, in Appiah’s estimation, “the most influential work of liberal political philosophy of the twentieth century.”

We discover that the great liberal philosopher began the life of a mind as a religious thinker who self-consciously molded his theories on the neo-orthodoxy of Karl Barth and Reinhold Niebuhr. According to Appiah, A Brief Inquiry “is a polemic against any view in which human life is directed at some impersonal end.” Meaning is found in human relationships, which are expressions of God’s love. Although the young Rawls was interested in a categorical imperative of a much different sort, the young Rawls also sought to begin from a position of undeniable fact. But as opposed to the “original position” imperative found in A Theory of Justice (1971), the categorical imperative in the young Rawls was God: “there is a being whom Christians call God and who has revealed himself as Christ Jesus.”

Appiah goes on to discuss the variants of the later Rawls with clarity and depth. He analyzes the shift from the young neo-orthodox Rawls, who had an explicit conception of the good—God—to the Rawls of 1971, who had a Kantian conception of universal truth rooted in reason. In an ideal world, Rawls famously contended in A Theory of Justice, those who devised the rules of society would have no conception of the good, sheltered as they would be by the “veil of ignorance,” a device of universal reason. Appiah then analyzes the late Rawls of Political Liberalism (1993). Appiah writes:

“In Political Liberalism, however, the story has changed. Now, the ideals to which Rawls appeals are supposed to be derived from the shared consensus of democratic citizens with differing conceptions of the good as they are held in their own time and place. In this respect, both A Theory of Justice and the Brief Inquiry—one appealing to the universal truths of reason, the other to the eternal claims of Christianity—stand apart from Political Liberalism.”

Of note to USIH readers, Appiah invokes James Kloppenberg’s Reading Obama to describe how the shift in Rawls tracked alongside “a broader shift in philosophy away from appeals to general principles, valid at all times and in all places, toward a reliance on local, historically particular values and ideals.” Perhaps as a reflection of his surveying the land of America circa the culture wars, in Political Liberalism Rawls argued that citizens ought to avoid appeals to religion. Perhaps this is the Rawls that Appiah is thinking about when he introduces him in the introduction of the essay. Appiah writes:

“A defining presupposition of his mature work is that, in modern multireligious societies, there are bound to be distinct and competing conceptions of what it is to live well. As a result, if our political system is to attract the reflective support of all reasonable citizens, it cannot depend on one such overall conception.”

With this, Appiah’s interest in and admiration for Rawls comes into focus. Appiah, famous in his own right for his work, among others, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, sees Rawls as a leading theorist of cosmopolitanism. I had never understood Rawls as such. I was more inclined to think of Rawls as my colleague Mike O’Connor does in his manuscript-in-progress on democratic capitalism—as perhaps the last leading Cold War liberal thinker.

By way of conclusion, I would like to pose questions. Does it make sense to think of Rawls as a cosmopolitan thinker? If so, what other American thinkers qualify as such—at any point in the twentieth century? The reason I ask is because I have been asked to write an intellectual history of U.S. cosmopolitanism for the Routledge Handbook of Cosmopolitan Studies. Tentatively titled, “Americans and Others: Historical Identity Formation in the United States,” I am framing it as an intellectual history of those who thought about identity in relation to nation, ethnicity, and religion. I’ve recently been impressed by all of the bibliographies engendered by our blog discussions, and am hoping this post generates another such discussion. I am interested in both primary and secondary readings on this topic. Thanks for any help. Cheers.

16 Thoughts on this Post

  1. Andrew,

    First, this cosmopolitan studies handbook sounds fantastic. I’m glad they’ve asked you to contribute (at the very least an intellectual historian—hopefully several).

    I think one of your questions is this: What’s the difference between cosmopolitanism as an ideal, with its roots in 1910s era thinkers like Randolph Bourne and Horace Kallen, and Cold War liberalism’s cosmopolitanism?

    If we can take Appiah at his word, because I haven’t read Political Liberalism, it appears that the late Rawls does indeed capture some form of cosmopolitanism in that work. Let’s not pretend that cosmopolitanism is some kind of homogeneous concept that doesn’t change over time. I mean, cosmopolitanism circa 2010 is not the same as it was in the 1910s, 1940s, 1980s, and the early 1990s. If Rawls advocated for a shared cosmospolitanism that rose above the (a) interests of the religious right and (b) the ethic of personal autonomy/expression that arose in the 1960s (i.e. extreme Western individualism), as well as (c) respected Rawls’s earlier advocacy of procedural liberalism, then I think we have to see Rawls as a 1990s cosmopolitan.

    It’s in the nature of cosmopolitanism to attempt to transcend historical circumstances. But it’s in our interest—indeed our job–as historians to contextualize it.

    I would argue that cosmopolitanism in the early Cold War era, for instance, appeared in relation to those supporters of a world state and world federal government: Jacques Maritain, Robert Hutchins, Mortimer Adler, etc. Indeed, one of my arguments about Adler is that—contrary to late Culture Wars perceptions—he was a true blue advocate of liberalism, and cosmopolitan for most of his life.

    Back to Rawls, I would say that his middle focus on liberal procedure in A Theory of Justice makes him a cosmopolitan in the 1970s. He tried to rise about identity politics and partisanship by focusing on what we had in common: the duty to pursue justice through any common means necessary (i.e. the focus on procedure).

    Finally, I would say that there’s been a quickening of concern for cosmopolitanism since the globalization that began in the 1960s (according to Hobsbawm). I would guess that the most nuanced thinking about the subject has arisen since then.

    Great post!

    – TL

  2. I know little about Rawls, but I do know (just) enough about Kant to suggest that Rawls’ later shift to cosmopolitanism can be seen not as a departure from but as a natural outgrowth of his Kantian commitments. Kant is in many respects the progenitor of cosmopolitanism, his “Zum Ewigen Frieden (Perpetual Peace)” being a canonical text of that doctrine. I don’t know enough about Kant’s political thought as a whole to articulate the connections between liberalism and cosmpolitanism therein, but I’d venture that they are complementary not contradictory. So if Rawls in Theory of Justice was inspired by one aspect of Kant, in Political Liberalism he was inspired by another. The fact he chose “liberalism” for his title while advocating what Appiah sees as cosmopolitan ideals would seem to indicate that Rawls himself saw the two as mutual. Perhaps he even saw them as necessarily related, even symbiotic.

    Stick “Kant cosmopolitanism” into Google and you’ll see what I mean. It’s hard to have a discussion about cosmpolitanism without running into everyone’s favorite Koenigsberger sooner or later.

    “Tentatively titled, ‘Americans and Others: Historical Identity Formation in the United States,’ I am framing it as an intellectual history of those who thought about identity in relation to nation, ethnicity, and religion.”

    That strikes me as rather broad. You can think about identity in those terms and have nothing to do with cosmopolitanism, not even being against it. Which is to say, in some respects everyone’s thinking in those terms, so you’re going to wind up getting everyone. I’m sure you are including anti-cosmpolitanism, your essay wouldn’t make sense without it, not for twentieth-century America. Anyway, are you going to be offering a definition of cosmopolitanism? I think you should, if for no other reason than that framing your analysis around “identity formation” strikes me as too materialistic in the absence of any elaboration of the principles that are involved. I’d try to point you in the right direction, as I worked on cosmpolitanism once. But that was over a decade ago, and I doubt the French Revolution is going to figure much in your essay. It is, though, as Tim notes, a huge growth industry these days, including in early modern Europe.

  3. Andrew:

    As you graciously mentioned, I myself am interested in expanding the traditionally philosophical understanding of “A Theory of Justice” by placing that book in a context of postwar U.S. intellectual history. So I am certainly sypathetic to you wondering if the new views expressed in “Political Liberalism” were a response to the culture wars. But I would want to point out that the proximate cause of these changes was two decades of hammering from the philosophical community. The gist of this criticism is that Rawls’s notion of rationality, as carefully as he defined it, could not help but smuggle in his (or, really, our) liberal political assumptions. If some people in a political community do not share the same vision of rationality, or, indeed, do not see themselves as bound by rationality at all, then there’s no neutral position from which to stand to tell them that they should be governed by a Western liberal-scientific vision of it. Thus, according to this view, Rawls’s attempt to ground political values on non-political ones ultimately, at least in the extreme view, fails. If you’re interested in this literature, the Stanford volume “Reading Rawls,” edited by Norman Daniels, is a good place to start.

  4. Thanks to all three of your for your helpful comments. Let me just say that I’m generally pessimistic that “cosmopolitanism” is a very valuable concept of analysis, so when I was asked to write this essay, I re-framed it around concepts of American identity, and the editor seemed fine with that.

    But of course, Tim, you make a valid point about cosmopolitanism, like anything else, being different relative to time and place. I certainly don’t think Bourne would have seen it as Appiah currently does, so this intellectual shift is partly what I’m after.

    Varad, thanks for pointing out that both variants of Rawls the philosopher could have been Kantian, which to me is evidence, if you are correct that Kant is the progenitor of thinking about cosmopolitanism, that the concept os too broad to be of much use. Of course, identity and nation are not much more specific, are they?

    Mike, thanks for the background on how Rawls came to ground the liberal ideal in more specific contexts. And by the way, the more I think about it, the more Rawls could be framed as both a cold war liberal and a cosmopolitan thinkers, as one of the things cold war liberals warred against was, of course, provincialism. That said, the most famous cold war liberals combined their worldly thinking with aggressive military action abroad, and thus considered those who resisted such militarism provincial, proving that cosmopolitanism and liberalism are hardly neutral endeavors.

  5. This comment, owing to its length, is in several parts.

    I don’t think it’s very helpful to categorize Rawls as “the last leading Cold War liberal thinker,” or even an exemplary “Cold War liberal thinker.” The secondary literature on Rawls is enormous, and much of it reflects the biases and ideologies (not always in a fatal way, mind you) of its authors. And Rawls’ works are themselves in part responsible for the wide range of interpretive positions owing to occasional inconsistencies, ambiguities, contradictions, and so forth, in spite of the brilliance of the works in toto. Here we might agree with Gerald Gaus:

    “The interpretation of Rawls’s texts is notoriously difficult [as is often the case with any decent philosopher]; at different points Rawls appears to reinterpret his earlier statements, and at times apparently affirms competing interpretations of his views. It is not difficult to find in Rawls’s work passages that support widely different interpretations.”

    For the moment, let me say that it is true that to the extent there exists (or that one can find) “cosmopolitanism” strains in Rawls’s thought (and I believe there to be some) it reflects the influence of Kant, nonetheless, as O’Nora O’Neill has made plain, in some respects at least, Kant was more of a cosmopolitan than Rawls, at least the Rawls of Political Liberalism and perhaps more clearly of The Law of Peoples as well. The “Kantian constructivism” of the former work “identified the reasonable with the public reason of fellow citizens in a given, bounded, democratic society [i.e., like ‘ours’].” Thus, here at least, Kant is more cosmopolitan than Rawls, for Kant’s ethical method was indeed cosmopolitan while Rawls’ is “implicitly statist.” Now we might also bear in mind the audience or rhetorical character of Political Liberalism insofar as it appears to deliberately restrict itself to members of “actually existing democratic societies,” so to speak, and this certainly represents an endeavor to appeal to his communitarian critics like Sandel, alas, perhaps reflecting, as some have argued, fatal concessions to the communitarian argument generally. However, things may not be quite as clearcut as O’Neill makes them out to be if we focus on both the rhetorical and rational character of the argument. After all, Rawls aims for a political conception of justice that is “freestanding,” that is, not (deductively) dependent in its presuppositions, axiomatic assumptions or premises upon a commitment to any specific comprehensive worldview, and in so doing it aims to ground itself in reason as such, be it as “the rational” or the “reasonable.” Now Rawls appeals here to the public culture of a constitutional regime because he believes its fundamental principles, say, autonomy, liberty, equality, fairness, or welfare, are core Liberal political principles and values and thus, as such, are capable of transcending their possible justification in any particular comprehensive view, in other words, they need not depend on any such worldview, indeed, these differing comprehensive views may in fact possess the intellectual resources from which one might (or better: should) reason to an endorsement of the aforementioned principles or at least come to an appreciation of their indispensable and basic political value or worth (by analogy: consider the manner in which people of differing worldviews or ‘cultures’ across the globe have come to endorse at least some human rights, or the notion of human dignity, even if they’ve come to that conclusion, that is, even if they’ve reasoned from different conceptual premises or values and beliefs seemingly unique to their specific worldviews in a manner that permits or encourages them to endorse the inviolable dignity or inherent worth of the individual human being).

  6. Now it will not do to dismiss Rawls’ argument here because the political salience or significance of the above values and principles were historically and politically generated from or common to Liberalism, for that would be to commit the genetic (or ‘reductive’) fallacy, if only because these principles are in fact generalizable or univesalizable regardless of their association with various thinkers and theories in the tradition of Liberalism. Or, with Gaus, we can point out that principles like (negative and positive) liberty, equality, welfare, and (moral) autonomy “are not necessarily embedded in any comprehensive doctrine [or ‘worldview’ as the term I prefer]],” yet those of differing comprehensive doctrines are capable, presumably, of agreeing to them (or at least they should insofar as they share a commitment to the value of rationality and the need to be reasonable). Insofar as Rawls is speaking to citizens of constitutional democratic regimes, the rhetorical purpose of his argument is “consensual,” i.e., he aims to show that everyone “has reason R to accept belief X” (we share a reason for endorsing X). And insofar as his argument is capable of appealing to those of different comprehensive doctrines or worldviews, that is, irregardless of whether or not one is a member of a democratic society, it makes use of a “convergence” argument which seeks to demonstrate that “we have different reasons for endorsing X, though we all have some reason for endorsing it” (I’m relying here on Gaus who, in turn, is drawing upon Fred D’Agostino for the distinction between ‘consensus’ and ‘convergence’ arguments). O’Neill appears to be focusing on the former argument to the neglect of the plausibility or possibility of Rawls making this latter argument. Those who reject the conception of persons as being free and equal (in at least the moral if not the metaphysical sense) and, no less importantly, reasonable and rational, are outside the rhetorical scope and attraction of Rawls’ argument. As Gaus explains,

    “Rawls argues that justice as fairness is a justified political conception because it articulates the requirements of the person and society that all reasonable citizens in our democratic societies share. However, Rawls does not believe that this exhausts ‘full’ and ‘public’ justification [and here we return to Kant!]—citizens draw upon their full range of beliefs and values and find further reasons for endorsing the political conception. Thus ‘overlapping consensus’ constitutes a convergent public justification, drawing on our various ‘comprehensive doctrines.’”

  7. The Rawls of A Theory of Justice does not make ethical arguments or even assumptions that can be dismissed as “statist,” and the extent to which it relies on Liberal principles in the broadest sense (in conceiving ‘justice as fairness’), these are universalizable or generalizable, as they are in Kant’s case, and thus Rawls’ argument can be seen as having cosmopolitan implications, even if he himself did not tease these out in any sustained manner. To the degree, in other words and for example, that he relies on the Kantian notion of “free and equal” persons he falls within the ambit of the cosmopolitan tradition going back to the Stoics (as does Kant himself for that matter). Now I’m not here going to attempt any critique (as Gaus himself does) motivated by the fact that Rawls concedes his notion of “justice as fairness” is only one possible liberal conception, granting, in other words and as Gaus points out, “that there are diverse interpretations of the basic concept of a liberal political order,” a plurality that at bottom is inevitable if only because of the abstract character and level of the fundamental principles and values found in the Liberal tradition, indeed, this also accounts for the different “kinds” of Liberalism: (to some extent) Hobbesian, Lockean, Millean, Nozickian, Rawlsian, etc.
    In The Evolution of Rights in Liberal Theory (1986), Ian Shapiro rightly notes that Rawls’ ideological impact, while more complex than that of Robert Nozick,

    “can be summed up by saying that his is the natural response of a liberal who has read Pigou and Keynes seriously. He appeals to those who believe in the desirability, efficiency, and justice of capitalist markets, recognize that they may not always function well and may generate serious inequities for some, and want to find efficient ways of addressing those inequities without altering the essential nature of the system. The ambiguous moral status of Keynesianism and welfare economics has always inhered in the fact that they appeal to the short-term interests of the disadvantaged (such as unemployed workers and firms on the edge of bankruptcy during recessions) by ensuring subsistence, creating employment, and expanding credit, yet these policies are geared in the medium term to sustaining the system which generate those very disadvantages—hence the ironic force of Joan Robinson’s quip that the one thing worse than being exploited is not being exploited at all.”

    Now while this may account for the ideological appeal of Rawls, it does not do his argument full justice in as much as he was capable of envisioning, like not a few contemporary democratic socialists and Social Democrats, and even some (especially self-described ‘analytical’) Marxists (e.g., Roemer), the possibility of non-capitalist or socialist markets (hence the debate on the Left about ‘market socialism’). Rawls speaks (in his Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy (2007)), for instance, of the “illuminating and worthwhile view” of “liberal socialism,” enumerating its four basic elements and referring in a note to John Roemer’s “Liberal Socialism (1994),” which is not a title of any of Roemer’s books (if I recall correctly, this error was confirmed in correspondence with Samuel Freeman). The volume Rawls probably intended to cite is Roemer’s A Future for Socialism published the same year (it is no less a delightful Freudian slip for all that!). Here once more we might appreciate why it may be more than a tad misleading to view Rawls as a “Cold War liberal” (there are, however, not a few of that species: for a discussion of the ‘intersection between the various approaches to rational choice liberalism and Rawls’s theory of justice,’ please see S.M. Amadae’s Rationalizing Capitalist Democracy: The Cold War Origins of Rational Choice Liberalism (2003)).

  8. With regard to political cosmopolitanism proper, particularly insofar as it includes a theory of distributive global justice, there are at least several theories of global justice that are avowedly inspired by Rawls even if they depart from him in some or significant respects (e.g., Charles Beitz’s Political Theory and International Relations (1979) Gillian Brock’s Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Account (2009)). Martha Nussbaum’s cosmopolitanism, which is intellectually adverse to the social contract tradition, remains in some ways beholden to Rawls as she herself has acknowledged. This alone should provide a presumptive reason for refusing to exclude Rawls from the rubric of cosmopolitanism, whatever the shortcomings from vantage points provided by more vigorous theories of same (e.g., Simon Caney’s Justice Beyond Borders: A Global Political Theory (2005) and Nussbaum’s Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership (2006), and several works by Thomas Pogge).

    Well, that’s an appetizer, and I hope it was enticing, the full course awaits another time and venue.

    (complete references available on request)

  9. (One last item) There’s a book that intriguingly combines Rawlsian ethical conceptions and reasoning with Marxism that is a must-read, and further evidence of the wide appeal of Rawls’ work beyond the label of “liberalism” (Cold War, Keynesian, or otherwise), namely, R.G. Peffer’s Marxism, Morality, and Social Justice (1990).

  10. I don’t believe that we can accurately describe Rawls as a cosmopolitan. Perhaps he was a cosmopolitan in the minimalist sense that he believed there principles of international justice and one of these principles requires poverty alleviation.

    Nonetheless, we would do better to describe Rawls as a kind of liberal nationalist. In the Law of Peoples, Rawls takes peoples, or political organized nations, as the basic unit of moral analysis rather than individuals. To see another place where Rawls’ liberal nationalism crops up, take a look at his views on immigration restrictions, where he endorses Michael Walzer’s justification for the permissibility of immigration restrictions.

    There is a question about whether cosmopolitanism is a useful category. I’m not sure. I think there is a group of different moral positions that, while not individually necessary or intrinsic to something called “cosmopolitanism,” do delineate an interesting family of views. These moral positions include:

    (1) It is false that compatriots have special duties to one another that permit them to prioritize their interests above the interests of foreigners.

    (2) There are international principles of justice, including international principles of distributive justice.

    (3) The fundamental units of moral concern are individuals rather than groups.

    (4) There are not different principles of distributive justice at the international and domestic levels.

    (5) Nations have no morally basic rights to self-determination.

    This is not exhaustive. But Rawls probably rejects (1), (4), and (5), at least. This is enough to distinguish him from people like the early Charles Beitz, Joseph Carens, Simon Caney, and other “cosmopolitan” political theorists.

  11. As to (1), most of the recent theories of cosmopolitanism do in fact recognize “that we have special duties to one another that permit them to prioritize their interests above the interests of foreigners.” For example, Caney writes that cosmopolitans “recognize that [the principles of distributive justice] may sometimes best be realized if people comply with special duties to some. In other words, they recognize the possibility that although justice is fundamentally impartial between persons it may in some cases sanction policies in which people are partial to some (their friends, say, or family members).” As he further explains, “modest” cosmopolitans (in contrast to the ‘ambitious’ kind) simply assert the need for principles of distributive justice with global scope, a claim that need not deny according priority through special duties to one’s compatriots.

    Robert Goodin’s “cosmopolitan principle of “protecting the vulnerable,” for instance, grants that those “relatively near to us in space and in time probably will be rather more vulnerable to us” than distant others, a fact “that saves [his] argument from the traditional reductio of requiring that we give everything to starving Asians or that we forever save everything for infinitely receding generations or that we have our own lives and projects constantly interrupted to serve others.” And in this I take Goodin to be fairly representative of a large class of recent cosmopolitan theorists.

    Cosmopolitans do not, typically, reduce our individual and collective responsibilities to those of purely global scope, rather, they frequently add to or extend our existing responsibilities, duties and obligations so as to encompass those beyond our nation-state borders. In so doing, nothing necessarily follows by way of recognizing in some sense the moral priority of those near and dear, especially insofar as they are vulnerable to our actions, or we’ve voluntarily assumed special obligations, or are acting as trustees of some sort. As the entry on cosmopolitanism in the SEP explains, “some cosmopolitans have adopted a developmental psychology according to which patriotism is a step on the way to cosmopolitanism: as human individuals mature they develop ever wider loyalties and allegiances, starting with attachments to their caregivers and ending with allegiance to humanity at large. These different attachments are not necessarily in competition with each other. Just as little as loyalty to one’s family is generally seen as a problematic feature of citizens, so the argument goes, loyalty to one’s state is not a necessarily problematic feature in the eyes of cosmopolitans. Thus, cosmopolitanism is regarded as an extension of a developmental process that also includes the development of patriotism.”

    Furthermore, and relatedly, (4) is at best misleading in as much as principles can (or should) be sensitive to national and international differences for, as Onora O’Neill has pointed out so, even if our universal principles fail to discriminate between society-wide and global principles of distributive justice, this need not mandate uniform treatment, leaving room for differentiated application, and even in those cases in which there is something close to uniform treatment, they underdetermine action, so permit varied implementation. It so happens that some cosmopolitans simply claim that there are some extra-national obligations that have moral weight.

  12. To continue and conclude:

    As I’ve explained above, the (Kantian) Rawls of The Theory of Justice clearly recognizes the fundamental units of moral concern are individuals (as ‘free and equal persons’).

    Even what Allen Buchanan calls the “Rawlsian [moral] minimalism” of the Law of Peoples could be said to involve individuals as the fundamental units of moral concern insofar as it is based on “a particular understanding of tolerance as respect for persons’ reasons,” or the capacity of individuals to be reasonable. The principle of toleration involves showing proper respect for the reason of others (as individuals). Each individual’s good counts in some way, even if it’s a fairly meager or minimalist conception of that good, as Buchanan has argued.

    As for (5), I don’t think it is true of many recent cosmopolitan theorists, who frequently presuppose or take for granted a right to moral self-determination given the existing international order of states (which are the institutions best suited for coordinating collective action on a large scale), indeed, such self-determination may be and often in fact is, reliant on the cooperative endeavors of other similarly situated nation-states. But this self-determination is, in the end, in the service of individuals, that is, their basic security, welfare, and so forth, and thus sovereignty, which is how we’ve come to give legal recognition to this principle, is not absolute and is rightly infringed upon in those cases where the State egregiously fails to satisfy the minimal moral reasons for which it was constituted and by which it maintains its legitimacy in the eyes of its subjects. Allen Buchanan’s cosmopolitan principle of a “natural duty” of justice at the foundation of his moral theory of international law recognizes the importance of the legally entrenched principle of collective self-determination, indeed, he fills our and critiques existing conceptions such that this principle need not be realized in nation-state form but might also be fulfilled by way of a robust relative (‘intrastate’) autonomy within an existing nation-state (so as to avoid, in many cases, secession as the sole route by which such self-determination comes to fruition). There’s nothing intrinsic to cosmopolitanism that requires acceptance of (5), instead, this self-determination exists alongside and in conjunction with other moral principles and thus is not absolute.

    Finally, even if one concludes that Rawls is best not viewed as a cosmopolitan political philosopher, it is incontrovertible that many if not most of the existing cosmopolitan political theories (Caney, Pogge, Nussbaum, Brock, etc.) use Rawls’ work in one way or another as a point of departure: critiquing or borrowing this or that conception, extending others, and so forth. His work is chock full of material that has inspired and motivated these thinkers to engage in cosmopolitan theorizing in response to the myriad conditions associated brought about through the myriad processes and effects of globalization.

  13. Erratum: “In so doing, nothing necessarily follows by way of failing to recognize or grant in some sense the moral priority of those near and dear, especially insofar as they are vulnerable to our actions, or we’ve voluntarily assumed special obligations, or are acting as trustees of some sort.”

  14. Erratum: “His work is chock full of material that has inspired and motivated these thinkers to engage in cosmopolitan theorizing in response to the myriad conditions brought about by the various processes and effects of globalization (capitalist and otherwise).”

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