No Migration in a Realistic Utopia? Rawls’s The Law of Peoples and the Topic of Migration

Karoline Reinhardt
Eberhard Karls Universität, Tübingen, Germany

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Ingår i: Proceedings from The 49th Societas Ethica Annual Conference 2012; Theme: Ethics and Migration; August 23-26; 2012; Lucian Blaga University Sibiu; Romania

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 97:15, s. 173-180

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Publicerad: 2014-04-24

ISBN: 978-91-7519-297-0

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


The current debate on migration and ethics is to a high extend informed by Rawlsian thinking. The ideas Rawls himself has put forward on this topic; however; are rarely discussed. One reason for that is Rawls’s explicit exclusion of all questions related to migratory movements in his work The Law of Peoples. In this paper I argue that it is still valuable to examine this work on the foreign relations of liberal democracies more closely; especially if one is concerned with the moral and ethical challenges migration brings about: I will show that Rawls brings forward substantial arguments on these matters. The paper is divided into three sections. After a first introductory part I will discuss Rawls’s ideas on migration in more detail. In the concluding part of my paper; I will summarize my findings and present some more general considerations on the implications my discussion of The Law of Peoples might have.


Rawls; The Law of Peoples; migration


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