Cosmopolitanism and Global Ethics Syllabus (Spring 2017)

PHIL 233: Cosmopolitanism and Global Ethics


Course Meetings: MWF 1:55-2:50 pm Napier Hall 101

Office Hours:Monday and Wednesday 8:30-9:30am, Thursday, 12:00-1:00 pm (and by appointment)

Instructor: Rochelle DuFord


Phone: 315-781-3169

Office: Delancey House Room 8 (2nd Floor)


Course Description:


Cosmopolitanism can be understood in a number of ways. Interpreted literally, it means citizen of the world. Morally, cosmopolitanism is the claim that every human being has independent and equal moral worth: this means that we have equal duties to each and every human being on the earth, sometimes called moral universalism. Often, moral cosmopolitanism attempts to determine the best way to alleviate global poverty or redistribute material resources needed for a good life (a topic thoroughly covered in PHIL 159: Global Justice, if you’re interested. We will only touch briefly on questions of distributive justice in this class.). Politically, cosmopolitanism concerns the necessity or assessment of international and global institutions. One of the predominate questions of political cosmopolitanism is to determine the extent to which political mechanisms ought to exist in cross-border contexts as well as what those institutions ought to do. This requires determining what significance, if any, state borders and state sovereignty have for our moral and political duties.


This course will focus mainly on political questions concerning cosmopolitanism in a globalized world, though we will begin with a short discussion of moral cosmopolitanism to set the stage for thinking universally. We will consider critiques of cosmopolitanism as a kind of moral universalism from the perspective of both nationalist and postcolonial thinking.


Global ethics, for the purpose of this class, is a set of ethical and political considerations that emerge from living in a globalized world. Actions in the global context (immigration, economic policy, human rights legislation, and (non)democratic institutions) have a pervasive impact on the lives of individuals–and this impact often differs based on how one is situated in the world. In order to better understand this impact, we will consider the moral and political aspects of international organizations and global governance, colonialism, immigration, economic inequality, and gender justice.


Learning Outcomes

By the end of this class students will:

1) Be able to examine debates about the moral significance of political borders and citizenship (including understanding historical and contemporary positions as well as the material facts surrounding those positions).

2) Develop, or strengthen, understandings of the normative aspects of immigration, human rights, and economic globalization.

3) Develop and practice the ability to read, explain, and criticize complex philosophical arguments in speech and writing

4) Understand the complicated relationship between cosmopolitanism, globalization, and colonialism/imperialism.


HWS Goals:

This course addresses goals 6 and 8.

6: “An intellectually grounded foundation for the understanding of differences and inequalities of gender, race, and class….”

8: “An intellectually grounded foundation for ethical judgment and action….”


Required Texts: There are no texts required for purchase for this course. All texts will be made available online via PDF.


Classroom Policies:

Class Discussion

This course will be largely discussion based. Each student is expected to participate in the discussion. One means of participation is active listening. However, I ask that each student work toward productive discussion. Much of the work of philosophy is completed via ‘thinking out loud.’ So, we will do the work of philosophy together—discussing the texts, ideas, and environmental situations together in order to better understand the world around us. Philosophy is not a practice of memorizing, but one that requires actively doing critical thinking.

Academic Honesty

You are expected to act with integrity in all academic matters. Please consult the Academic Policies of the course catalogue for an in depth discussion of what constitutes academic integrity. Violations of the Colleges’ academic integrity policy will be dealt with as harshly as is allowed by the Colleges, this will usually result in failure of the course.


Unless you have a documented need for accommodations, laptops are not to be used in class, except as a note-taking or reading device. You may also use e-reading devices or a tablet to read the texts. Any use of technological devices for other purposes will result in a loss of participation points for the week. Sometimes we will work on the class wiki during in class time–for this, it will be helpful for you to bring a laptop or tablet to class. I will let you know when it will be useful for you to bring your laptop to class.


I am committed to maintaining a classroom and working environment in which every student is able to succeed. If you require accommodations for success, please consult with Disability Services in the Center for Learning and Teaching (you may email to set up an appointment). After this, please contact me as soon as possible so we can work together to implement any accommodations needed.


You are expected to attend class each meeting with the assigned reading. You are allowed THREE (3) absences without penalty. After THREE (3) absences, you will be penalized 2% of your FINAL GRADE for the course for EACH absence. Absences due to illness, injury, religious observation, and emergency are ‘excusable.’ You must contact me prior to class in order to arrange an excused absence for illness, injury, and religious observance. Only the date of the religious holiday is excused, you will not be excused for any travel days related to the observance of religious holidays. If you have had an emergency and are unable to contact me prior to class, please contact me immediately so we can discuss your situation and make a plan for the future.

Submission of Late Work

All work is required to be submitted by the due date. Work submitted late will incur a 10% per day penalty. Make-up exams, quizzes, and writing assignments will be given only in the case of documented emergency or illness. If you are, for some reason, struggling to complete your work in this class please let me know PRIOR to the due date. We can work together to implement solutions, however we can only do so if you are forthcoming prior to the assignment’s due date. I want all students to successfully complete the course, and if you are struggling to do so for personal or academic reasons, please attend my office hours or email me.

Center for Teaching and Learning

At Hobart and William Smith Colleges, we encourage you to learn collaboratively and to seek the resources that will enable you to succeed.  The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is one of those resources:  CTL programs and staff help you engage with your learning, accomplish the tasks before you, enhance your thinking and skills, and empower you to do your best.  Resources at CTL are many:  Study Mentors help you find your time and manage your responsibilities, Writing Fellows help you think well on paper, and professional staff help you assess academic needs. 

I encourage you to explore these and other CTL resources designed to encourage your very best work.  You can talk with me about these resources, visit the CTL office on the 2nd floor of the library to discuss options with the staff, or visit the CTL website.

The CTL resources most useful for this class include Teaching Fellows, Writing Fellows and Study Mentors.  For more information on these resources, visit the CTL webpage at, or visit the CTL Canvas site.

Teaching Fellows

CTL works with the Philosophy Department to offer one resource that will be essential to your learning in this course, the Philosophy Teaching Fellows. The Teaching Fellows are accomplished Philosophy majors and minors who are now paid to assist other students.  They hold regular study hours Sunday—Thursday. To get the most out of this resource, I recommend that all students in this course begin attending the TF hours next week and attend once or twice weekly (to study, to ask questions) throughout the semester.  The Fellows are usually available Sunday-Thursday 7-10pm in Delancey House.


Writing Fellows

One CTL resource that will be helpful in enhancing learning in this course is the Writing Fellows program. Writing Fellows help students develop their writing by providing feedback on essay drafts, offering strategies for the writing process, and enhancing students’ understanding of what good college writing means.  You may make an appointment via the TutorTrac ( appointment system (link on the CTL webpage, too).

Changes to the Syllabus

This syllabus is subject to modification based on class needs and interests. If it is necessary to modify the syllabus, I will provide you with at least one week warning.

Percentage Grade to Letter Grade


A: 93-96.99

A-: 90-92.99

B+: 87-89.99

B: 83-86.99

B-: 80-82.99

C+: 77-79.99

C: 73-76.99

C-: 70-72.99

D: 60-69.99

F: Below 60



Wiki Participation (25%): You are required to participate in the development of the class wiki. There are a variety of ways you may do so. The class wiki is (in essence) a place for you to try out ideas related to the course and run them past your classmates for discussion and collaboration. One of your three wiki pages MUST be on the topic of your group presentation (think about this as killing two birds with one stone!).


You may reconstruct an argument found in a course text. You may *NOT* simply complete the same argument reconstruction as a classmate–if they reconstruct an entire text in broad strokes, you may do one section in detail, if they construct a section you may choose a different section OR the (broad view of) entirety of the text. This means that wiki entries are dolled out on a first-come first-serve basis.  You may not ‘double up’ on entries. If you believe a classmate has made an error in their wiki entry, you should comment and edit that entry (this will count as one of your edits on an entry). We will complete an argument reconstruction in the first week of class. (THESE DISCUSSIONS SHOULD OCCUR UNDER THE HEADLINE FOR THAT READING in the appropriate module)


You may wish to write about a current event, proposed law, or policy that is relevant to the material in the course–if you do so, you must link to the source of the story, and discuss its empirical and conceptual relationship to the course in a critical way. (THESE DISCUSSIONS SHOULD BE PLACED UNDER THE MEDIA HEADING in the appropriate ‘module’ or ‘page’)


Lastly, you may add a lengthy discussion of a particular concept to the wiki. This involves providing a critical discussion of the concept and the way it is used across multiple and varied sources discussed in the class or in popular media. (THESE DISCUSSIONS SHOULD OCCUR UNDER THE GENERAL CONCEPTS HEADING FOR EACH ‘module’ PAGE)


You are required to complete 3 wiki entries, as well as substantially edit 9 wiki entries (3 per ‘section,’ section end dates can be found on the reading schedule). Editing wiki entries need not mean ‘correcting’ the original author, though, sometimes it might. Editing the entry may involve extending the author’s analysis, offering critiques of their analysis, or adding outside information to supplement what the author has done. Do not be afraid to edit an entry–all entries will be edited (sometimes even by me, but please, don’t be afraid to edit my comments either!). Part of the process of learning together and creating a body of knowledge is critical interaction with each other–take yourself and your classmates seriously enough to work together and learn together with them!


Each entry is worth 5% of your final grade, entries should be at least 300 words. All edits as a whole are worth 10% of your final grade.


We will do an in class tutorial of writing and editing the class wiki together, during the first week of class. Sometimes we will also use in class time to work on specific wiki entries (this will count as an in class assignment that day), so I will sometimes ask you to bring a laptop or tablet to class with you. Please feel free to ask questions either in office hours, in class, or via email if you have any questions about using and developing the wiki.

Papers (first two 12% each, final paper 20% for a total of 44%): For this course, you will write two, 3-4 page, papers. Paper topics will be suggested. Should you wish to generate your own topic, you are welcome to do so but it must be approved by me no less than 10 days prior to the due date of the paper.


Your final paper should be 6-8 pages and should discuss at least two readings from the class. You are required to generate a thesis and submit a precís to me by 4/15. The thesis and precís are not graded, however, failure to submit them will impact the grade on your final paper by 10%. (This is in addition to your not having the benefit of my feedback and guidance, which will surely aid you in developing a stronger final paper.)


Midterm Exam (15%): The midterm exam will consist in 10 short answer questions and one essay, it will be held on the last day of class before spring break.


In Class Participation (8%) and Assignments (8%): You are required to participate in class discussion. If you find in class participation difficult, I encourage you to push the boundaries of your comfort. Alternatively, you may communicate on the topic of the readings with me via email or in my office hours. There will be a variety of in class assignments, each worth 1% of your final grade. Successful completion of 8 in class assignments is required for full credit. In class assignments may include writing assignments, pop quizzes, wiki work, discussion question development, and a variety of other assignments that take from 15-30 minutes. In class assignments may be given at any time, without prior notice. The best way to earn full credit for in class assignments is to attend each class. No make-up assignments for in class work will be given.


Reading Schedule:


Week 1: Introduction to Cosmopolitanism

1/18: Introduction to the Course, Syllabus, Classmates

1/20: Globalization: A Very Short Introduction (Pages 9-16)

BRING LAPTOP TO CLASS, WIKI DEMONSTRATION (If you miss this day of class, please see me to schedule a brief tutorial.)


Week 2: Globalization, What is it?

1/23: Globalization: A Very Short Introduction (Pages 37-47)

1/25: Globalization: A Very Short Introduction (Pages 60-73)

1/27: Globalization: A Very Short Introduction (Pages 117-125)


Week 3: Sovereign States and Cosmopolitanism

1/30: Immanuel Kant, “Perpetual Peace” (reading only the “Second Section” roughly page 5-9), 2/1: Kwame Anthony Appiah, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (Pages 1-11)

2/3: Martha Nussbaum, “Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism” (Available Here:


Week 4: Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism

2/6: Kwame Anthony Appiah, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (Pages 45-55)

2/8: Kwame Anthony Appiah, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (Pages 90-99)

2/10: Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (141-154)

End of Wiki Section 1

Further Reading: David Miller, On Nationality

Richard Miller, “Cosmopolitan Respect and Patriotic Concern”


Week 5 and 6: Global Justice

2/13: John Rawls, Law of Peoples (Pages 11-22)

2/15: John Rawls, Law of Peoples (Pages 23-29)


2/17: John Rawls, Law of Peoples (30-44)

2/20: John Rawls, Law of Peoples (Pages 45-53)

2/22: Iris Marion Young, Structural Injustice and the Politics of Difference (83-95)

2/24: Iris Marion Young, Structural Injustice and the Politics of Difference (95-105 and 109-111)


Further Reading: David Held, Democracy and the Global Order

Daniele Archibugi, Mathias Koenig-Archibugi, Raffaele Marchetti (eds), Global Democracy: Normative and Empirical Perspectives


Weeks 7 and 8: Colonialism

2/27: Immanuel Kant, Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Intent

3/1: Edward Said, Orientalism (Pages 12-17)

3/3: Edward Said, Orientalism (Pages 17-23)

3/6: Ofelia Schutte, “Cultural Alterity: Cross Cultural Communication and Feminist Theory in North-South Contexts” (Pages 53-63)

3/8: Ofelia Schutte, “Cultural Alterity: Cross Cultural Communication and Feminist Theory in North-South Contexts” (Pages 63-69)



Further Reading:


Anibal Quijano, “Coloniality of Power and Eurocentrism in Latin America”


Week 9, 10, and 11: Immigration and the Human Cost of Borders


3/20: Michael Walzer, “What does it mean to be an American?” (pgs. 633-643)

3/22: Michael Walzer, “What does it mean to be an American?” (pgs. 643-654)

3/24: Seyla Benhabib, “Nobody Wants to be a Refugee,” 1951 Refugee Convention (Selection)

Paper Two Due

3/27: David Miller, “Is there a human right to immigrate?” (pgs. 1-15)

3/29: David Miller, “Is there a human right to immigrate?” (pgs. 15-23)

End of Wiki Section 2, 3/30

3/31:Joseph Carens, “Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders” (251-262)

4/3: Joseph Carens, “Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders” (262-271)

4/5: Sarah Fine, “Immigration and Discrimination” (1-14)

4/7: Sarah Fine, “Immigration and Discrimination” (14-27)


Further Reading: Wendy Brown, Walled States, Waning Sovereignty

Sarah Fine and Lea Ypi eds, Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership


Week 12, 13, 14: Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism, and Gender

4/10: Alison Jaggar, “Is Globalization Good for Women?” (298-307)

4/12: Alison Jaggar, “Is Globalization Good for Women?” (307-314)

4/14: Ranjoo Seodo Herr, “The Possibility of Nationalist Feminism” (pgs 135-143)

4/17: Ranjoo Seodo Herr, “The Possibility of Nationalist Feminism” (pgs 143-151)

4/19: Chandra Talpade Mohanty, “Cartographies of Struggle” (pgs. 43-49 and 71-74)

4/21: Chandra Talpade Mohanty, “Cartographies of Struggle” (pgs. 53-64)



Yael Tamir, “Hands Off Clitoridectomy”

Martha Nussbaum, “Double Moral Standards?”


Week 15: Democracy in an Era of Globalization

4/24: David Held, “The Transformation of Political Community: Rethinking Democracy in the Context of Globalization”

4/26:David Held, “The Transformation of Political Community: Rethinking Democracy in the Context of Globalization”

4/28: Will Kymlika, “Citizenship in an Era of Globalization”

5/1:Will Kymlika, “Citizenship in an Era of Globalization”

End of Wiki Section 3 5/3


Further Reading: Luis Cabrera, Political Theory of Global Justice: The Cosmopolitan Case for a World State


A Note on the Reading Schedule:

You will see ‘further reading’ and ‘suggested reading.’ Suggested readings are readings that are relatively short and accessible: they provide empirical background or applied examples that are relevant to the unit. I may discuss them in class, but you are not required to have read them for quizzes or exams. You are welcome to bring them up in class discussion and discuss them on the class wiki. Further readings are readings that are longer (book length) and cover a topic in much more sophisticated depth. Further readings may be an appropriate place to start, should you write a paper on that topic. Further readings will likely not be discussed in class, but you may come talk to me about them during office hours. You are welcome to write wiki discussions on further readings. I have copies of all further readings (either hard copies or PDFs) and some are available in the library, if you would like to borrow one, please let me know.


On the Class Wiki:

Rules: The class wiki is intended to be a supplementary learning source. Students bring their own interests and experiences to the wiki. In turn, we will create a body of knowledge and critical discussion driven by your own interests. Write about something you think is cool or interesting or you are having trouble understanding. Other students will comment, and in doing so, expand your sections, creating a collaborative resource for us all. It is likely you will find a paper topic from your work on the wiki, or you will be inspired by someone else’s work!

**It is important to note, double entries will NOT count. What I mean by this: if another student wrote an argument reconstruction on a particular article, you may NOT write about the same article toward the same end. This is incentive, for you, to complete your wiki entries early in the wiki section. Claiming that ‘someone else did it before you could, but you planned to do it!’ will not excuse you for the failure to complete the assignment. Entries that do the same task as a previous entry will receive 50% credit at most.**

Suggestions for wiki entries:

Argument Reconstruction: An argument reconstruction involves pulling out the thesis and premises of a paper’s argument, and rewriting them in a more easily understood or easily digestible form. Often, you can reconstruct a 15 page paper into a paragraph or two. This involves figuring out what elements of the text are necessary for proving the main claim. If you like, you may reconstruct only a *section* of an article or essay–in some ways this is both easier and harder. It involves being much more careful with regard to the details of the essay while also making a connection to the essay’s main claims. However, it also involves a smaller amount of text and a more concrete set of points. We will complete an argument reconstruction in class together during the first week.

Contemporary Problems, Policies, and Legislation: You are welcome to discuss any piece that appears in a credible popular media source. You should describe the global ethical, political, or legal issue and analyze its ethical valences utilizing readings or concepts from the course. Alternatively, you may wish to make a policy proposal, or evaluate a policy or legislative proposal utilizing readings and concepts from the course. These sorts of entries will likely contain more empirical information and discussions of global politics, economics, and/or international law. When discussing a piece of popular media you *must* link to it in the wiki!



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