16th Graduate Conference in Political Philosphy – Abstract/Hernández

David Hernández, Tilburg University.

Why Particularist Arguments for Social Justice Cannot Avoid Cosmopolitan Considerations: the Weakness of Particularism in Defense of Social and Distributive Justice


This paper presents a critique of the particularist objections against cosmopolitanism, by showing the inconsistencies created by, on one side, the egalitarian defense of social justice against the libertarian in the national sphere, and on the other side the use of arguments analog to the libertarian rejection of enforceable means for social justice, but applied to the global sphere.  The main line of argument in the paper is that by making social and distributive justice matters of pure procedural justice, the particularist argument loses a great deal of its justificatory force once they reject the cosmopolitan arguments because of the gaps created between the local and the global means of representation. By conceding that the traditional Rawlsian legitimation of political institutions will probably have problems in the implementation of social and distributive justice and by proposing that international relations must be based on non-intervention and consent between states, particularists allow the possibility of justifying an international system that is normatively powerless for addressing the incapability or unwillingness of states to deliver social and distributive justice and at the same time, creates the normative gaps for perpetuating those shortcomings.