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Justice and morality beyond naïve cosmopolitanism

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Many cosmopolitans link their moral defence of specific principles of justice to a critique of the normative standing of states. This article explores some conceptual distinctions between morality and justice by focusing on the nature of claims they entail, the obligations they generate and the distribution of agency that they require. It then draws out some implications of these distinctions so as to illustrate how states play a non-arbitrary role in the process of both rendering determinate the principles of global justice and allocating agency compatibly with strict rather than large obligations. Contrary to many existent defences of the state, it shows how a similar conception promotes rather than undermining the ideal of global justice.

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