Liberal egalitarianism beyond the state: Dealing with global justice

David Hernandez Zambrano

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis lies within the context of the current discussions about global justice. Specifically, within the philosophical liberal egalitarian tradition. The text focuses on analyzing how social justice is excluded from the debate about justice beyond the domestic sphere. It proposes a critique of how traditional theories of justice and political legitimacy prescribe the state as the primary and only unit for social justice and on the inquiry into the possibility of a justification for a global approach to the problem of social justice. This thesis refers to the protection of socio-economic rights globally, focusing on the gaps between the domestic and the international handling of the issue. The challenge, then, is how to achieve such a widening or creation of a political space that could make available the global conception of justice necessary for social rights. A great deal of the argument builds from and refers to terms of distributive justice, given how traditional theories have addressed the topic of socioeconomic justice.

The text is divided into four chapters and a conclusion. This first chapter presents the general outlines of the discussion. The second chapter analyzes the particularist rejection of the broadening of the scope of justice beyond the state, showing how Rawls and Walzer can be taken as representatives of particularism as a whole, and proposing a critique of the particularist prioritization of civil and political rights over socioeconomic ones, given the creation of indeterminacy in the protection of the latter. The third chapter shows that the particularist body of theory is subject to inconsistencies between the models of justice it prescribes for the local and the international domain, given the creation of loopholes in the recognition and protection of rights and obligations of justice. The chapter argues that the inconsistencies dissolve the distinction between liberal egalitarianism and libertarianism in the theorizations about justice in the international domain. Finally, the fourth chapter takes on the arguments of indeterminacy and loopholes to show how these justify the need for overcoming particularism.

Having made these considerations, the thesis ends by briefly stating possibilities for a more apt theorization about justice that embraces the global domain by displacing the absolute primordiality of the state in liberal egalitarian theories of justice.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Tilburg University
  • Lindahl, Hans, Promotor
  • Herrera Romero, Wilson, Promotor, External person
  • Augenstein, Daniel, Co-promotor
Award date5 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


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