Academic year
José Luís Martí
Departament of Humanities - Area of Moral and Political Philosophy
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Master courses
Module 1. Practical Philosophy
2018-10-01 - 2018-12-13
Thursdays, 14:00 - 16:00. Additionally: Monday, 1 and 22 October; and Friday, 19 and 26 October, 14:00-16:00.
UPF: Edifici Roger de Lluria, room 40.113.



This course offers a multidisciplinary introduction to the main challenges that law, justice and democracy face in a globalized world. In this sense, this is a course on global politics as well as on global law. It combines the perspectives of political philosophy, legal philosophy, constitutional theory, international relations, and international law theory. But its main approach is theoretical and philosophical.

It starts studying the current global trends and transformations, such as globalization and the digital revolution, and the way they affect our traditional understanding of state’s sovereignty and the international order.

It continues with an introduction to four contemporary theories of justice –utilitarianism, egalitarianism, libertarianism and republicanism-, exploring how they could be extended to the global sphere. And it also engages in the existing debate for and against global justice.

The course shifts then to the legitimacy of international institutions and to the different models of global order. And it ends with a discussion of the new paradigms of global law and global constitutionalism.



Methodology: This course has an intense reading load. Students will be expected to read all the assigned texts before each class period. The instructor will start the class with a presentation, but only with the aim of generating class discussions. Students are  expected to spend about 6 hours per week in reading these materials and preparing the class. This will be complemented by a workload of around 20 hours to prepare the final assignments. 

 Skills: Throughout the course, students are expected to acquire advanced specific knowledge about global law, international justice, democracy, the legitimacy of the international order, and global law and global constitutionalism. They are expected also to develop their critical skills to analyze the present political and legal international situation and identify instances of injustice or illegitimacy. They are also expected to become familiar with the sources of international legal scholarship and international political thought.  

 Attendance policy: students are expected to attend at least 10 of the 12 class periods. Those who fail to meet this requirement will be penalized in their final grade up to 2 points.

Readings assigned: All readings assigned that are not directly linked below, will be accessible in this Drive folder:


The evaluation of the course will be based on the following assignments:

  • 3 discussion notes (800 words x 3): 30% of the final grade

Each student will have to choose 3 texts among the assigned readings and write a critical piece on them of about 800 words each.

  • Policy or research paper (4,000-6,000 words): 40% of the final grade

Students will have to write a research paper, a policy paper, or a critical legal analysis on one topic that they will be able to choose freely (in accordance with the instructor’s advice). This will be a short paper, focused, and synthetic paper with an extension of around 4,000 words maximum.

- If they choose to write a research paper, they will have to choose a topic related to the contents of the course, do some research over the existing literature on the topic and write an original paper that attempts to contribute to such literature.

- If they choose to write a policy paper, they will have to choose a problem that our current legal systems face, will have to briefly but accurately describe the problem, identify possible solutions to it, assess them in a comparative perspective, and finally propose and defend their preferred solution. To learn more about policy papers, read this:

- If they choose to write a critical legal analysis, they will have to choose a legal problem or issue, ideally related to some fundamental right, they will have to provide an account of how such issue is currently regulated in one or more legal systems, will identify a problem, will make a critical analysis of the regulation, and will provide and defend a de lege ferenda proposal of legal reform. To learn more about how to produce legal analysis, read this:

  • Video-presentation: 30% of the final grade

Each student will have to record a video-presentation with a defence of the policy or research paper, trying to be innovative, creative, and persuasive.  


Intended Learning Outcomes: 


CB6 – Students should be able to critically understand central texts about law, justice and democracy in a globalized in a way that puts them in a position to develop and apply original ideas.  

CB9 - Students should be able to communicate their knowledge and their arguments to specialized audiences in a clear and articulate way.  

CG2. Students should be able to design, create, develop and undertake new and innovative projects in their area of ​​expertise.  

CG3. Students should be able to engage both in general and specific discussions about law, justice and democracy. They should be able to conduct a philosophical discussion (orally and in written form), by putting forward, for example, general arguments or specific examples, in support of one’s position. 

CG4. Students should be able to work both independently and in a team, in an international environment. 

CG5. Students should be able to identify methodological errors, rhetorical, conventional and uncritical assumptions, vagueness and superficiality. 

CE1. Students should be able to critically engage with the concepts and methods of contemporary philosophy of law.

CE2. Students should be able to identify the core arguments and theories of contemporary philosophy of law.

CE4. Students should be able to assess the writings of leading contemporary philosophers in the field of philosophy of law.

CE5. Students should be able to identify and critically engage with the current state of a particular philosophical debate, and form a reasoned view, even if provisional, about it.




SESSION 1: (Monday, October 1st, 14-16h, room 40.113)


Introduction to political philosophy: law, justice and legitimacy


  1. Main challenges of global politics
  2. Morality and law
  3. The concept of justice
  4. The concept of political legitimacy
  5. Moral skepticism and relativism
  6. Global law and global politics


Readings assigned:

  • Sandel, Michael, Justice. What’s the Right Thing to Do?, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giraux, 2009: ch. 1.
  • Sandel, Michael, Open Online Course on Justice, episode 1:



SESSION 2: (Thursday, October 4th, 14-16h, room 40.113)


The new scenario: a globalized and digitalized world


  1. Globalization and new global challenges
  2. Technological revolutions and technological threats
  3. The power of networks and collaboration
  4. Is there room for state sovereignty in a globalized and digitalized world?


Readings assigned:

• Rheingold, Howard, Net Smart. How to Thrive Online, Cambridge (Mass.): MIT Press, 2012, Introduction (pp. 1-3, and 12-26), and ch. 4 (pp. 147-187).


Further reading:

  • Held, David and Anthony McGrew, “The Great Globalization Debate: An Introduction”, in Held, David and Anthony McGrew (eds), The Global Transformations Reader, London: Polity Press, 2003, Introduction: pp. 1-42.
  • Benkler, Yochai, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, New Have: Yale University Press, 2006: ch. 1, pp. 1-28.
  • Tufekci, Zeynep, Twitter and Tear Gas. The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017: Epilogue, pp. 261-277.



SESSION 3: (Thursday, October 18th, 14-16h, room 40.113)


State sovereignty and international order


  1. The concept of state sovereignty
  2. Westphalian order and the evolution of sovereignty
  3. The new paradigm of global governance
  4. Rodrik’s trilemma
  5. The global democracy dilemma


Readings assigned:

  • Philpott, Daniel, “Sovereignty”, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2016, accessible at:
  • Alvarez, José E., “State Sovereignty is Not Withering Away: A Few Lessons For the Future”, in Antonio Cassese (ed.), Realizing Utopia, OUP, 2012, pp. 26-37.
  • Rosenau, James, The Study of World Politics, vol. 2, London, Routledge, 2006, chs. 5, 13 and 14: pp. 31-45, and 111-146.


Further reading:

  • Strange, Susan, “The Declining Authority of States” and “Pinocchio’s Problem and Other Conclusions”, from The Retreat of the State, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996, chs. 1 and 13, pp. 3-15, and 183-199.
  • Ku, Charlotte, “Taking Stock. Global Governance in a post-Westphalian Order”, in International Law, International Relations and Global Governance, London: Routledge, 2012, pp. 158-184.
  • Pogge, Thomas, “Cosmopolitanism and Sovereignty”, Ethics 103, 1992: 48–75.



SESSION 4: (Friday, October 19th, 14-16h, room 40.113)


Theories of justice: utilitarianism


  1. Introduction to utilitarianism
  2. Types of utilitarianism: Hedonism, preference utilitarianism, act-utilitarianism, rule-utilitarianism
  3. Objections
  4. Utilitarism in a global world

Discussion topic: is it torture justified under some circumstances?


Readings assigned:


Further reading:



SESSION 5: (Monday, October 22nd, 14-16h, room 40.113)


Theories of justice II: liberal egalitarianism


  1. Kantian ethics and human rights: basic human dignity
  2. Liberal Egalitarianism: John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice
  3. Objections
  4. Liberal egalitarianism in a global world


Readings assigned:

  • Sandel, Michael, Justice. What’s the Right Thing to Do?, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giraux, 2009: chapters 5 and 6.
  • Henry Richardson, “John Rawls”, Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, section 2, accessible at


Further reading:



SESSION 6: (Thursday, October 25th, 14-16h, room 40.113)


Theories of justice III: libertarianism


  1. Right-wing liberalism and conservatism: historical background
  2. Robert Nozick’s libertarianism
  3. Objections
  4. Libertarian cosmopolitanism


Readings assigned: 

  • Sandel, Michael, Justice. What’s the Right Thing to Do?, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giraux, 2009: chapters 3 and 4. 

Further reading:



SESSION 7: (Friday, October 26th, 14-16h, room 40.113)


Theories of justice IV: republicanism


  1. Introduction: the republican historical tradition
  2. Freedom as non-domination, equal status and civic virtues
  3. Republican justice and republican democracy
  4. Objections
  5. Transnational domination and republican self-government


Readings assigned:

  • Pettit, Philip, “Civic Republican Theory”, in José Luis Martí and Philip Pettit, A Political Philosophy in Public Life, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010.


Further reading:



SESSION 8: (Thursday, November 8th, 14-16h, room 40.113)


Global justice: world poverty and global inequalities


  1. Introduction: the new historical background in a globalized world
  2. Domestic justice vs. cosmopolitan justice
  3. Peter Singer’s One World
  4. An international difference principle: Charles Beitz
  5. John Rawls and the Law of Peoples
  6. Thomas Pogge and poverty
  7. Human rights and international courts


Readings assigned:



SESSION 9: (Thursday, November 15th, 14-16h, room 40.113)

The reaction against global justice


  1. The institutionalist critique
  2. The nationalist critique
  3. The realist critique


Readings assigned:

  • Nagel, Thomas, “The problem of global justice”, in Brown, Garrett Wallace and David Held (eds), The Cosmopolitanism Reader, London: Polity Press, 2010, pp. 393-412.
  • Miller, David, “Cosmopolitanism”, in Brown, Garrett Wallace and David Held (eds), The Cosmopolitanism Reader, London: Polity Press, 2010, pp. 377-392.


Further readings:

  • Kymlicka, Will, “Citizenship in an Era of Globalization”, in Brown, Garrett W. and David Held (eds), The Cosmopolitanism Reader, London: Polity Press, 2010, pp. 435-444.



SESSION 10: (Thursday, November 22nd, 14-16h, room 40.113)


The legitimacy of international institutions


  1. The concept of legitimacy
  2. Traditional conceptions of political legitimacy
  3. The Westphalian model of international legitimacy
  4. A new complex standard of international legitimacy


Readings assigned:

  • Christiano, Thomas, “Authority”, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2013, accessible at:
  • Buchanan, Allen and Robert Keohane, “The Legitimacy of Global Governance Institutions”, in A. Buchanan, Human Rights, Legitimacy and the Use of Force, Oxford UP, 2010, pp. 105-133.


Further readings:

  • Martí, José Luis, “Sources and the Legitimate Authority of International Law: Democratic Legitimacy and the Sources of International Law”, en S. Besson y J. D’Aspremont (eds), The Oxford Handbook on the Sources of International Law, Oxford University Press, 2017.
  • Klabbers, Jan, “International Institutions”, in J. Crawford and M. Koskenniemi (eds), The Cambridge Companion to International Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp. 228-244.



SESSION 11: (Thursday, November 29th, 14-16h, room 40.113)

Models of global order: democratic statism vs. global democracy


  1. Is democracy possible at the international level? Robert Dahl’s critique
  2. Democratic statism: Pettit and Christiano
  3. Transnational demoi-cracy: Besson, Buchanan, Bohman, Bellamy
  4. Global democracy: Held, Archibugi, Pogge
  5. State sovereignty, democracy, and global order in a globalized and digitalized world, again


Readings assigned:

  • Dahl, Robert, “Can International Organizations be Democratic? A Skeptic’s View”, in Brown, Garrett Wallace and David Held (eds), The Cosmopolitanism Reader, London: Polity Press, 2010, pp. 423-434.
  • Christiano, Thomas, “Is democratic legitimacy possible for international institutions?”, in Daniele Archibugi, Matthias Koenig-Archibugi and Raffaele Marchetti (eds), Global Democracy. Normative and Empirical Perspectives, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp. 69-95.
  • Archibugi, Daniele, “The Architecture of Cosmopolitan Democracy”, in The Global Commonwealth of Citizens, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008, pp. 85-122.


Further reading:

  • Martí, José Luis, “A global republic to prevent global domination”, Diacritica, 24, 2, 2010.
  • Miller, David, “Against Global Democracy”, in Keith Breen and Shane O’Neill (eds), After the Nation?, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
  • Pettit, Philip, “The Republican Law of Peoples. A Restatement”, in Domination and Global Political Justice: Conceptual, Historical, and Institutional Perspectives, ed. B. Buckinx, J. Trejo-Mathys, and T. Waligore, London, Routledge, 2015: pp. 37-70.
  • Christiano, Thomas, “Democratic Legitimacy and International Institutions”, in The Philosophy of International Law, ed. S. Besson and J. Tasioulas, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010: pp. 119-137.



SESSION 12: (Thursday, December 13rd, 14-16h, room 40.113)


Global law, human rights, and global constitutionalism


  1. The evolution of human rights
  2. The idea of global law
  3. Global administrative law
  4. Global governance experimentalism
  5. Global constitutionalism
  6. Global jurisdiction


Readings assigned:

  • Peters, Anne, “The Merits of Global Constitutionalism”, Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 16, 2, 2009.
  • Kumm, Matthias, “Constitutionalism and the Cosmopolitan State”, NYU Law School Working Papers, 2013.
  • Habermas, Jürgen, “Keywords on a Discourse Theory of Law and of the Democratic Constitutional State”, in J. Habermas, The Lure of Technocracy, London: Polity: 2013, pp. 46-60.


Further reading:

  • Besson, Samantha and José Luis Martí, “Legitimate Actors of International Law-Making. Towards a Theory of International Democratic Representation”, Jurisprudence,
  • Peters, Anne, “Global Constitutionalism”, in Michael Gibbons (ed), The Encyclopaedia of Political in Thought, Wiley and Sons, 2015, pp. 1-4.
  • Peters, Anne, “Are We Moving Towards Constitutionalization of the World Community?”, in Antonio Cassese (ed), Realizing Utopia. The Future of International Law, Oxford UP, 2012, pp. 118-135.
  • “Human Rights”, in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessible at
  • Domingo, Rafael, The New Global Law, Cambridge U.P., 2011.