We routinely take ourselves to have obligations to our fellow citizens. But if we believe that every person matters, and especially if we believe that all are in some sense children of God—or in some other way equally “citizens” in this globalized world—we will also think that we have transnational obligations. These include obligations concerning resistance to global warming, support of charities, and, in perhaps more direct ways, preserving world peace. On these and other counts, the refugee crisis is a major concern. It threatens the stability of the entire Middle East and extends to countries in Africa and Asia as well. Other concerns include dangers posed by failed states and “rogue regimes”. With these and other problems in view, this presentation considers the extent to which some version of nationalism or, by contrast, cosmopolitanism, is morally justified. Our answer to this question will have major bearing on how conscientious citizens should respond to the global problems now confronting humanity.
Robert Audi is a Professorial Fellow at Australian Catholic University and John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. His major work focused on epistemology, ethics (especially ethical intuitionism), political philosophy, religious epistemology and the philosophy of mind and action. Some of his recent books include: Moral Perception (Princeton UP, 2013); Democratic Authority and the Separation of Church and State (Oxford UP, 2011); Rationality and Religious Commitment (Oxford UP, 2011); Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge (Routledge, 3rd ed, 2010); Business Ethics and Ethical Business (Oxford UP, 2009); Moral Value and Human Diversity (Oxford UP, 2007); and The Good in the Right: A Theory of Intuition and Intrinsic Value (Princeton UP, 2004). Prof Audi has served as president of the American Philosophical Association (Central Division, 1987-1988) and is general editor of The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (1995 and 1999, 3rd edition forthcoming).