International Global Ethics Association

Second Biennial Conference

26-28 June 2008


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 is the view that the moral standing of all people around the globe is equal. Individuals should not give moral preference to their compatriots, their co-religionists, fellow members of their demographic identity groups, their generational groups, or their genders. Is this an adequate basis for Global Ethics?


 Download the accepted abstracts

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 ofThe 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.
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.

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.

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.

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."

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 LiberationOne 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.


Associate Professor Stan van Hooft 
School of International and Political Studies - Philosophy
Faculty of Arts and Education 
Deakin University


Associate Professor Gillian Brock
Philosophy Department
University of Auckland
New Zealand

Professor Tony Coady
Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics
University of Melbourne

Professor Ronald Commers
Director, Centre for Ethics and Value Inquiry
University of Ghent

Associate Professor Fethi Mansouri
Director, Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation
Faculty of Arts and Education 
Deakin University

Dr Richard Shapcott
Senior Lecturer in International Relations
Department of Government,
University of Queensland

Dr Steven Slaughter
School of International and Political Studies
Faculty of Arts and Education 
Deakin University

Professor Geoff Stokes
School of International and Political Studies
Faculty of Arts and Education 
Deakin University


Mr Robert Budd & Ms Shupin Mei 
Faculty of Arts and Education 
Deakin University

Liaison with the International Global Ethics Association:

Ms An Verlinden
Centre for Ethics and Value Inquiry
University of Ghent

Page custodian: Deakin Research
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