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Kok-Chor Tan, , . Justice Without Borders: Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Patriotism About us
2004, Cambridge University Press.
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Publisher’s Note: The cosmopolitan idea of justice is commonly accused of not taking seriously the special ties and commitments of nationality and patriotism. This is because the ideal of impartial egalitarianism, which is central to the cosmopolitan view, seems to be directly opposed to the moral partiality inherent to nationalism and patriotism. In this book, Kok-Chor Tan argues that cosmopolitan justice, properly understood, can accommodate and appreciate nationalist and patriotic commitments, setting limits for these commitments without denying their moral significance. This book offers a defense of cosmopolitan justice against the charge that it denies the values that ordinarily matter to people, and a defence of nationalism and patriotism against the charge that these morally partial ideals are fundamentally inconsistent with the obligations of global justice. Accessible and persuasive, this book will have broad appeal to political theorists and moral philosophers.

Comment: This book touches on a number of very topical issues and is a great way to show philosophy’s practical application in introductory courses. Particularly useful will be Chapter 2 which sets out the need for cosmopolitan justice and discusses the difference between the duties of aid and global justice. Chapters 5, ‘Nationalism and cosmopolitanism’, and 7, ‘The limits of patriotism’, are likely to divide opinions and thus can provide excellent grounds for class debate and discussion. All those and other chapters are very topical and can be discussed with reference to examples from current politics.

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