Justice and Foreign Policy: A Reply to My Critics

| September 2015
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I often tell my students that sustained criticism is the currency by which one philosopher expresses respect to another. The most disrespectful response to an argument, after all, is a curt nod and a change of subject. Being critiqued may not be enjoyable, but it is the only way to understand the force and limitations of our own arguments. I am therefore enormously grateful to Simon Caney, Pablo Gilabert, Richard Miller, and Anna Stilz for their careful and thorough criticisms of Justice and Foreign Policy. Their arguments are powerful. I am very fortunate to have such decent and insightful critics.

I am not, in the present context, going to engage with each individual argument offered in the accompanying essays; there are too many of them, and some of them would take us too far afield for present purposes. Instead, I want to focus on three rather important issues, each of which has been developed in the arguments of more than one of my critics. The issues are, first, whether or not I have given an adequate justification for the relevance of comparative distributive justice within the domestic political community; second, whether or not I have given an adequate rationale for the irrelevance of comparative distributive justice within the global arena; and, finally, whether or not my view lends support to—or directly endorses—the sort of imperial practices that liberalism ought to condemn. I will discuss these arguments in turn.

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Category: Book Symposium: Justice and Foreign Policy, Issue 29.3

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