Global justice and empathy: Can empathy research assist in addressing the problem of motivation in global justice, and if so, how?

Astrid Paulsson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

This philosophy thesis identifies and maps the main psychological components in global justice debates. It is demonstrated that assumptions about empathy support philosophical claims about motivation, and these claims underlie competing positions on responsibility for global justice: cosmopolitanism and statism. Interrogating the role of concepts of empathy and motivation in the existing global justice debate is therefore pursued and found to be a productive strategy for revealing a new perspective within this debate. The normative claims from the institutional thesis about global justice, and its peripheral claims about motivation show that in most cases, focusing on individual responsibility for moral motivation is a mistake, as most individuals have so little capacity to affect the institutional causes of global injustice. Philosophical debates on motivation ought instead to focus on empathy and motivation within individuals with institutional power. A wide array of empathy phenomena and practical suggestions help inform the debate on who is responsible for lack of motivation. Theoretically, the conclusions of this thesis can create better focused institutional responsibility for global justice. Finally, some practical steps are suggested in regards to 1) how to better locate responsibility and, 2) encouraging future research in this cross-disciplinary area.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Rush, Emma, Principal Supervisor
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

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