In examining the relationship between international law and global inequality, this book considers the extent to which international law should play a role in addressing the problem that, not only do we live in an unjust world, but we continue to persist in doing so despite the fact that this has been said to be the least controversial claim in political theory today. The book puts forward the argument that the political philosophy of cosmopolitanism is of relevance to, and has a history within, international law, and offers international law some hope of moving beyond a concern solely to secure the formal principles of external liberty between states, towards a greater concern for establishing a minimum level of material welfare for all individuals, regardless of their location. The book aims to serve as both an exploration of the role of theory in international law and as a critical introduction to the political philosophy of cosmopolitanism. It seeks to draw parallels and linkages between recent debates in the fields of political theory and international relations and international law.
The book considers the potential role of cosmopolitanism as an alternative to the statist ontology of international law. The nature of cosmopolitan political theory is explored, together with an overview of its historical development which highlights its interaction with the evolution of international law. The cosmopolitan theory of Immanuel Kant is taken up, together with the concept of liberal internationalism that is closely associated with Kant's work. It is argued that, in order to more adequately address transnational inequality and establish greater external obligations, a radical conception of Kant's international reform project must be adopted, a crucial element of which is Kant's idea of cosmopolitan law. The book concludes by exploring the legal nature, scope and content of cosmopolitan law, with particular attention to its potential role in providing a degree of distributive justice.
Trevor Redmond, LLB, MPhil, LLM (Cantab), PhD, BL is a barrister practising in Dublin, having previously worked in the Legal Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Ireland.