To What Extent Can Beitz

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To What Extent Can Beitz’s Claim For A ‘cosmopolitan International Morality’ Be Sustained? Essay, Research Paper The main difference between Beitz and other moral cosmopolitanists such as John Rawls (who?s work Beitz based much of his theory on) is that he extends the moral cosmopolitan theory (previously confined to the ?domestic? realm) to that of an ?international? realm. Beitz argues ?that a suitable principle can be justified by analogy with the justification given by Rawls in a ?Theory of Justice? for an intrastate distributive principle.? (Beitz 1979b:8) Essentially, Beitz wants ideal theory to become a goal within the non-ideal world. In order to realize this, he must assume that there already exists sufficient interdependence among states that can constitute a

cooperative scheme. He must also assume that the natural duty of justice provides the motivation and grounds for fulfilling it. If there was no natural duty of justice, then there would be no compelling reasons for individuals to apply principles of justice to the non-ideal world. In short, I shall attempt to show how Beitz?s claims for a ?cosmopolitan international morality? cannot be sustained since he postulates a disjunctive relationship between ideal theory and the non-ideal world. Therefore, Beitz?s ideal only serves as a feasibility condition instead of an existence position. The central problem for Beitz revolves around the question of realization. The construction of his position is meant to serve as ?a critique and revision of orthodox views? (Beitz 1979b: vii). He

identifies these orthodox views as coming from Realists, Hobbesians and skeptical. In fact, what we shall see is that Beitz does not distinguish himself enough from the orthodox views he so much criticizes. In order to address this question, we must first of all define the meaning of a ?cosmopolitan international morality?. ?The moral point of view,? as Beitz states, ?requires us to regard the world from the perspective of one person among many rather than from that of a particular self with particular interests?(Beitz1979:58). Pogge who holds ?that all persons stand in certain moral relations to one another? defines moral cosmopolitanism. He states that a moral cosmopolitan requires us ?to respect one another?s status as ultimate units of moral concern- a requirement that

imposes limits on our conduct.?(Pogge1992:49) Therefore the central idea of moral cosmopolitanism is that every person represents one unit of moral concern, which can be identified in many ways. For example, we could concentrate on subjective goods such as human happiness, or on more objective goods such as human need for natural resources. Beitz?s ?picture of reason?, identified by Pin-Fat as the ?moral point of view? generates a global original position. Under the global original position, Rawls believes that individuals, however diverse their interests, would mutually agree on basic principles for governing the social affairs of their society. The global original position is ?hypothetically constructed to embody impartiality of both judgment and subjects.?(Pin-Fat1997:195)

This original position is purely a construct of ideal theory and therefore must be the product of reflective reason. This reflective reason supports neutrality that is to be neither a product of history nor of the ?non-ideal world?. Ideal theory is an exploration into perfect conditions of justice in society that is considered necessary for providing the criteria not only of justice but also of injustice. Pin-Fat states that ?ideal theory is a necessary prerequisite of a partial compliance theory that studies the principles that govern how we are to deal with injustice?. (PinFat1997:188) Individuals would, however, be significantly constrained in their choice of principles behind the ?veil of ignorance?, a state in which parties would not know their fortune in the distribution of