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Open Political Science

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Immigration, Humanity, and Morality

Sunday Adeniyi Fasoro
Published Online: 2019-08-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/openps-2019-0004


The trend toward the concept of humanity in political theory has arisen largely as a reaction against the mistreatment of vulnerable people such as immigrants. The issue of immigrants’ vulnerability has led political thinkers to ponder on how to apply the principle of humanity to the question of the treatment of immigrants. I would like to address this matter by examining two questions: what is humanity, is it a value property, or a virtue? Does it really matter if the means by which an immigrant immigrates is demeaning to his own humanity as a person? The most common or intuitive reply to these questions would probably be: ‘humanity’ is simply a value-bestowing property, so regardless of immigrants’ actions they are owed respectful treatment. The aim of this paper is to emphasise instead that ‘humanity’ should be conceived as a virtue of actual commitment to act on moral principles. I explore three different meanings of humanity. First, I discuss ‘humanity’ as the common ownership of the earth. Second, I discuss ‘humanity’ as a value property. Third, I discuss humanity as a virtue of acting, on the one hand, with humanity, and on the other hand, on moral principles.

Keywords: Immigrants’ Vulnerability; Humanity; Dignity; Good will; Respect; Morality


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About the article

Received: 2019-03-04

Accepted: 2019-05-13

Published Online: 2019-08-16

Citation Information: Open Political Science, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 21–33, ISSN (Online) 2543-8042, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/openps-2019-0004.

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© 2019 Sunday Adeniyi Fasoro, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License. BY 4.0

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