International Justice and Justificatory Models

Kristian Høyer Toft

Research output: PhD thesis


Within contemporary international justice theory cosmopolitans claim that globally individuals are entitled to distributive justice, i.e. they hold so-called positive rights. This claim therefore distinguishes Thomas Pogge’s cosmopolitanism from John Rawls’ The Law of Peoples as well as David Miller’s nationalism.
Three possible justifications of global positive rights are discussed: constructivism, human nature theory and moral realism. It is argued that the commonplace appeal to the contract will not serve as an adequate justification of global positive rights, due to the strong asymmetry between the rich and the poor. Instead, such rights should be justified by appeal to the facts of need. It is the vital interests of people in need that provides the reason why global positive rights are justified.
Hence, this study demonstrates that cosmopolitans should accept the moral realist appeal to facts of need as the most promising argument in favour of global positive rights.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAarhus
Print ISBNs87-7335-108-3
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


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