The Scope of the Global Institutional Order: Can Pogge Survive Cohen’s Critique of Rawls?


  • Kevin W. Gray American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates



Thomas Pogge, John Rawls, G. A. Cohen, Different Principle, Global Institutional Order, Justice


In this paper, I develop a critique of Thomas Pogge”s attempt in Realizing Rawls to expand the scope of the Original Position. I argue that Pogge is guilty of assuming the same arbitrary boundary between public and private behaviours made by Rawls. To actualize this critique, I take G. A. Cohen’s critique of John Rawls, found in its fullest form in Rescuing Justice and Equality, alongside Thomas Pogge”s attempt, in Realizing Rawls, to expand the scope of the Original Position. Cohen argues that the boundary Rawls wishes to draw between the public and private cannot be coherently maintained in the application of the Difference Principle. I argue that if this claim is true, then Pogge”s attempt to expand the scope of Rawls” Theory of Justice to the international arena is actually considerably more radical than Pogge intended. Not only do we need to worry about the justice of institutions in international law, but we now need to worry about the justice of individual actions inside a system of global justice. I conclude by considering some objections against Cohen”s, and thus, my position.


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How to Cite

Gray, K. W. (2015) “The Scope of the Global Institutional Order: Can Pogge Survive Cohen’s Critique of Rawls?”, De Ethica, 2(2), pp. 19–34. doi: 10.3384/de-ethica.2001-8819.152223.