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Moral Philosophy and Politics

Editor-in-Chief: Schefczyk, Michael

Managing Editor: Schmidt-Petri, Christoph

Ed. by Meyer, Lukas Heinrich / Peacock, Mark / Schaber, Peter

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Advancing Justice by Appealing to Self-Interest: The Case for Charter Cities

Julian F. Müller
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  • Political Theory Project, Brown University, Box 2005, 8 Fones Alley, Providence, RI 02912, USA
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Published Online: 2016-10-26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mopp-2016-0022


The migration debate highlights a crucial shortcoming of non-ideal theory. Non-ideal theory, this essay argues, is in a sense still too ideal. The open border approach to minimal global justice reveals that non-ideal theory is missing the appropriate tools for engaging moral problems that are brought about by a thorough lack of empathy. To remedy this flaw, I conceptualize a two-tier approach to non-ideal theory. The basic idea behind the two-tier approach is adding the toolset of instrumental morality to non-ideal theory. Instrumental morality, I argue, should take center stage whenever standard non-ideal theory fails to accomplish its task. Applying the approach to global justice, the article will make the case for charter cities. The policy of creating charter cities is built on the insight that in a world plagued by limited empathy, justice must be advanced in accordance with and not against the existing interests.

Keywords: non-ideal theory; charter cities; instrumental morality; migration; migration ethics


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About the article

Published Online: 2016-10-26

Published in Print: 2016-11-01

Citation Information: Moral Philosophy and Politics, Volume 3, Issue 2, Pages 223–245, ISSN (Online) 2194-5624, ISSN (Print) 2194-5616, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mopp-2016-0022.

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