David Axelsen has recently introduced a novel critique of the motivational argument against cosmopolitanism: even if it were the case that lack of motivation could serve as a normative constraint, people’s anti-cosmopolitan motivations cannot be seen as constraints on cosmopolitan duties as they are generated and reinforced by the state. This article argues that Axelsen’s argument misrepresents the nationalist motivational argument against cosmopolitanism: the nationalist motivational argument is best interpreted as an argument about normative feasibility rather than as an argument about the technical feasibility. Nationalists’ objection to cosmopolitanism arises not from the impossibility of cosmopolitan motivation but from the moral costs of achieving and sustaining it. Given this interpretation, this article argues that Axelsen fails to demonstrate that nationalists would have to accept cosmopolitan conclusions from their own premises.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Ethics and Global Politics|
|State||Published - Jan 2015|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
I thank Richard Bellamy and Cécile Laborde for their valuable feedback on earlier versions of this article, as well as Sara Amighetti, Florian Ostmann, and John Wilesmith for their helpful comments. I also thank Eva Erman and editorial board of Ethics and Global Politics for their helpful revisions on the final version. Financial support for the period when this article was written was provided by UCL’s Overseas Research Scholarship and the Anglo-Israel Association’s Kenneth Lindsay Scholarship.
© 2015 L. Erez.
- global justice
- moral costs
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations