Faculty of Arts and Education

Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation


Second Biennial Conference of the International Global Ethics Association

Conference Theme

“Questioning Cosmopolitanism”

Hosted by the Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia
26 - 28 June, 2008 

Conference sponsors

CAPPE, University of Melbourne
Victorian Multicultural Commission


Conference program (final)

Today we live in a globalised world with consequent pressures on international relations and diplomacy. Every individual in advanced industrial societies is not only a citizen of their state but, in a sense, also of the world. Accordingly, our ethical responsibilities extend beyond borders in a way that was seldom considered by writers in the classical Western tradition of ethics. Today we all have a part to play in addressing problems of global governance, management of the environment, maintenance of peace, equitable global distribution of social goods and resources, humanitarian assistance, intercultural tolerance and understanding, and the protection of human dignity around the world.

Cosmopolitanism says that the moral standing of all people is equal. One should not give preference to one’s compatriots, co-religionists, demographic identity groups, generational groups, or gender. Is this an adequate basis for Global Ethics?

Sub-themes Keynote Speakers

Abstracts Accepted

PROGRAM Contacts
Supporters Links Important Dates Conference Venue


Any of the many problems in global ethics which are of concern to cosmopolitan thinkers could be discussed within the problematic of cosmopolitanism. These include:

  • The global environment
  • Identity politics
  • Multiculturalism
  • Religion and ‘the clash of civilizations’
  • Globalization
  • Global justice
  • Immigration and refugee policy
  • Human rights and responsibilities
  • Global poverty and wealth
  • War, armed conflict and terrorism
  • Humanitarian intervention
  • Governmental aid policies
  • The moral status of nation-states and of sovereignty
  • The ethics of world governance
  • International non-government organizations
  • The responsibilities of transnational business corporations
  • Economic development ethics
  • The ethics of missionary activity
  • Cultural rights and the concept of a ‘people’
  • Intercultural dialogue
  • Pacifism and non-violent international relations

Keynote Speakers

Tom Campbell

Tom Campbell is a Professorial Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University, Canberra, Australia. He is the author of The Left and Rights (1983), Seven Theories of Human Society (1981), Justice (2001), and Rights: A Critical Introduction (Routledge, 2006)The topic of his keynote address was “Cosmopolitan Justice”
Abstract: Working up a distinction between moral cosmopolitanism, which involves some sort of commitment to the equal importance of all humans,  and institutional cosmopolitanism, which has to do with the institutional embodiment of this ideal in the light of our knowledge of human values and capacities, I explore the thesis that  moral cosmopolitanism has a humanitarian basis that serves to legitimate a global institutionalism that is not based primarily on the more desert oriented concept of justice. This means that cosmopolitan justice, which concentrates on the unfairness of certain global institutionalisation, should be displaced by cosmopolitan humanitarianism as the overriding value underlying the ethics of global institutionalisation. This is explored in relation to extreme poverty, sovereign immunity, and the ambivalent role of human rights in relation to the democratisation of the emerging global order.


Photo of Tom Campbell

Jiwei Ci

Jiwei Ci is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong and the author of:

  • Dialectic of the Chinese Revolution: From Utopianism to Hedonism, Stanford: Stanford University Press 1994.
  • The Two Faces of Justice, Boston: Harvard University Press 2006.

The title of Jiwei’s paper was: Redeeming Freedom

Abstract: Of the values constitutive of the identity of a modern liberal society, indeed increasingly of other modern societies, freedom occupies a preeminent place. I mean this particularly in the sense in which Habermas takes the realization of such values to be the ultimate ground of claims to legitimacy. If the validity of a claim to legitimacy depends on realizing the value of freedom (among other values), what counts as success in this regard depends in turn on how the value of freedom is conceived. It is the latter issue—the conceptualization of the value of freedom—that forms the subject of this paper. One of the premises on which I will proceed is that the freedom of human beings is intrinsically constrained by at least two forms of social external determination, namely, identification and subjection. My main argument, given this premise, is twofold: (1) that while identification and subjection need not render freedom a self-contradictory value, these forms of external determination need to be redeemed by having the value of freedom applied to them as well, and (2) that failure to do this compromises the value of freedom and hence also the validity of any claim to legitimacy that rests on realizing the value of freedom.


Photo of Jiwei Ci

Nigel Dower

Nigel Dower is Honorary Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland where he taught for most of the period 1967-2004. He has also been a visiting professor a number of times in America and Iceland. He now acts as an academic consultant on ‘Cosmopolitan agendas –ethics in a globalized world’. He was President of the International Development Ethics Association from 2002 to 2006. His research interests in the last twenty years have focussed on various issues in global ethics, including development, the environment, human rights, peace & security, and global citizenship. In 2007 he received an Honorary Doctorate (TD) from the University of Uppsala for his work on global ethics and related issues.
His publications include

  • An introduction to global citizenship, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2003
  • World ethics: The new Agenda, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1998
  • World poverty: challenge and response, York, England: Ebor Press, 1983,
    and is a co-editor with John Williams of
  • Global Citizenship: a critical introduction, New York: Routledge, 2002.

The title of his paper was: Questioning the questioning of cosmopolitanism

Abstract: Criticism or rejection of cosmopolitanism comes from many sources: religious particularism, nationalism and ethnic loyalties; from communitarian and localist accounts of the sources of meaning, obligation and identity and relativist rejection of universal morality; accusations of Western hegemony in the name of universal values and fears of (imposed) world government or ‘cosmopolis’; the insistence of the priority of national security in the face of a threatening world of terrorist threats, fundamentalist agendas, economic competition & environmental conflict. These sources of rejection will be examined and largely disarmed. Whilst some forms of opposition are simply mistaken, most rejections of cosmopolitanism stems from a failure to understand it in its plausible form. Whilst some forms of cosmopolitanism are indeed to be questioned such as dogmatic fundamentalisms, religious or political (including the dogmatic forms of neo-liberalism), we must not throw out the baby with the bathwater, but retain a flexible cosmopolitanism which is justified dialogically through cross-cultural dialogue as well as by individual intellectual reflection, combines a modest universalism with respect for diversity (within limits), favours multiple levels of governance, local, regional and global, and combines global solidarity and responsibility with other levels of particularistic solidarity and relationship in community.

Photo of Nigel Dower

Carol C. Gould

Professor Gould is Professor of Philosophy and Government at Temple University in Philadelphia and Director of a new Center for Global Ethics & Politics there. She has written:

  • Globalizing democracy and human rights, Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004
  • Rethinking democracy: freedom and social cooperation in politics, economy, and society, Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

The title of her paper was: Do Cosmopolitan Ethics and Cosmopolitan Democracy Entail Each Other?

Abstract: While the implications of cosmopolitanism for justice have been widely discussed in the literature, less attention has been given to the connection between cosmopolitanism in ethics and in democratic theory.  This paper will address the question of whether a conception of universalist moral obligations and of strongly egalitarian norms requires the development of a model of fully cosmopolitan or global democracy (e.g., as in the work of David Held), or instead, whether it is more consonant with alternative, less comprehensive, notions of transnational democratic associations.  In a related way, the paper will consider whether such a new approach to democracy across borders has to be founded on a strictly universalist ethics, or if not, then what sorts of particular commitments it admits.  The aim of the paper is to further develop a conception of transnational democracy that is compatible with a universalist notion of human rights, while also making room for local affiliations and associations, as well as for new, particularist, forms of transnational solidarity.


Photo of Carol C. Gould

Andrew Linklater

Andrew Linklater was educated at the Universities of Aberdeen and Oxford and at the London School of Economics. He has taught at the University of Tasmania, Monash and Keele Universities and now at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth where he has been Woodrow Wilson Professor of International Politics since 2000. Main publications have explored connections between moral and political theory, Frankfurt School critical theory and approaches to international relations. Current research focuses on connections between the figurational sociology of Norbert Elias and international relations, and a major book is being prepared on the subject of changing attitudes to harm in international history. Linklater has been a Fellow of the British Academy since 2005 and a member of the Academy of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences since 2001. He is the author of:

  • Critical International Relations Theory: Citizenship, State and Humanity, London: Routledge, 2007
    and (with Hidemi Suganami)
  • The English school of international relations: a contemporary reassessment, Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006
  • The transformation of political community: ethical foundations of the Post-Westphalian era, Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1998
  • Beyond realism and Marxism: critical theory and international relations, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan, 1990
  • Men and citizens in the theory of international relations, London: Macmillan in association with the London School of Economics and Political Science, 1990.

Andrew’s paper was: Moral Progress and World History: The Ethics of Interconnectedness

Of it he says, “I've been working on world history and historical sociology for some time now and especially on approaches to how human societies have become ever more interconnectedness, starting with the rise of fortified settlements in the Near East circa 3500BC and the development of ever larger monopolies of power which have been the context for binding ever more people together. I would like to say something in the lecture about the development of abstract identities which have bound people together in larger groups. This will lead to a discussion of concerns about abstract ethics in some feminist and post-structuralist writings, and to consideration of the idea of an ethic of interconnectedness as defended by Gilligan and those who have been influenced by her. Then two steps to take: the first will deal with how the likes of Henry Shue have defended a global ethic of interconnectedness in eg his essay on 'Exporting Hazards'. The second will turn to the ethical common ground that is made possible by the fact that all human beings are vulnerable to similar forms of mental and physical harm. The aim here will be to make the case for what I now call 'embodied cosmopolitanism' and to suggest that this is the basis for recovering the idea of moral progress in human history.”


Photo of Andrew Linklater

Peter Singer

Peter Singer is Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, University Centre for Human Values, Princeton University and Laureate Professor, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, The University of Melbourne. He has written extensively across numerous ethical issues and been translated into many different languages, including Animal Liberation, One world : the ethics of globalisation, The president of good & evil : the ethics of George W. Bush, How ethical is Australia? : an examination of Australia's record as a global citizen (with Tom Gregg). Peter holds membership and honorary positions in a number of organisations (both academic and community oriented) concerned with ethical values.

Peter's paper was Global Poverty: How Demanding are our Obligations

Since his famous article of 1972, ‘Famine, Affluence and Morality’ Peter Singer has been accused of imposing excessively demanding moral obligations on us to help the world’s poor.

Peter is currently completing a book in which he discusses that issue and this paper relates to that book.


Call for Papers

The organisers invited philosophers, ethicists and theorists of international law, political science, political philosophy, economics, development studies, and international relations to submit papers in which philosophical research engages with any of the above issues. Diverse philosophical approaches and methodologies were welcomed.

A wide variety of paper proposals were received and papers of about 5000 words ( one hour sessions) and papers of around 3000 words (half hour sessions) were offered in addition to presentations from keynote speakers.

Abstracts accepted

Abstracts of papers offered at the conference are available for download (pdf file -164kb)

Conference Program

The final program has been posted

. See abstracts accepted for detail on papers presented.

Conference venue

Angliss Conference Centre

Level 5, 555 La Trobe Street. Melbourne Australia

Conference Support provided by

Centre for Citizenship & Human Rights
Faculty of Arts and Education
Deakin University

Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics
University of Melbourne

Centre for Ethics and Value Inquiry
University of Ghent

Institute for Citizenship and Globalisaiton
Faculty of Arts and Education
Deakin University

School of International and Political Studies
Faculty of Arts and Education
Deakin University




Conference Contacts

Conference committee and secretariat

Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

24th September 2012