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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Professor Thom Brooks

Brooks, Thom (2012). Between Statism and Cosmopolitanism: Hegel and the Possibility of Global Justice. In Hegel and Global Justice. Buchwalter, Andrew Dordrecht: Springer. 65-83.

Author(s) from Durham


Some commentators on Hegel’s political philosophy have doubted the possibility of a Hegelian theory of global justice. The argument is that Hegel’s theory of international relations is classically realist in an extreme sense: not only is the state the locus of the highest sphere of political right, the only judge between states internationally is ‘history’ rather than any global institution. Thus, Hegel appears to quite radically reject cosmopolitanism and perhaps even the idea of global justice. This essay will sympathetically engage with critics in trying to convince them of another possibility. I will argue that we can uncover a clear theory of global justice in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right with clear connections with recent leading work by contemporary philosophers, such as David Miller and Martha Nussbaum. A Hegelian theory of global justice is possible and, I will try to argue, attractive.