Pogge’s general assertion is that the West’s influence in shaping the existing global social conditions is continuing to promote a monumental level of suffering that has, and continues to, kill more people than either Hitler or Stalin. While these claims may seem bold, Pogge’s paper attempts to justify his claims by defending himself against the following:
- That he is making a conceptual mistake by re-labelling actions harmful that are really failures to aid and protect.
- That he is factually wrong about the causal explanations of severe poverty.
- That he is morally wrong by presenting minimal requirements that are excessively demanding.
In addressing these issues, Pogge adopts a ecumenical approach – his approach is intended to convince adherents of all the major moral theories that his position is defensible from all of their objections. Moreover, by adopting a multiplicity of divergent lines of argumentative defence, Pogge aims to avoid creating a strategy that can be ignored by theorists on the basis that they hold hold contrary philosophical positions. Specifically, he will be addressing Lockeans, Libertarians, Rawlsians, and communitarians.
Cosmopolitanism, broadly speaking, reflects on ethical, cultural, and political issues from the position that states and political communities are not the exclusive centers of political order or force.
Held begins his article in Brock’s and Brighouse’s The Political Philosophy of Cosmopolitanism by differentiating between cosmopolitanism that shifts from the polis to the cosmos, and the Enlightenment’s cosmopolitan attitude of maturity and reflexivity. The former insists that individuals’ first allegiance is to humanity rather than the community, whereas for the latter cosmopolitan right “meant the capacity to present oneself and be heard within and across political communities; it was the right to enter dialogue without artificial constraint and delimitation” (11).
Held’s article is subsequently divided into four sections. The first identifies cosmopolitan principles, the second distinguishes between ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ cosmopolitanism, the third justifies cosmopolitan claims, and the fourth section sketches how to transition from justifications to law. The ultimate aim is to understand the aim and scope of cosmopolitanism.