Global Law, Justice and Democracy (ex Models of Justice and Human Rights)

Basic Information

Course 2021/2022
Jahel Queralt
Josep Lluis Martí
Law School, Area of Legal and Political Philosophy
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Module 1. Practical Philosophy


Tuesdays, 14:30 - 16:30
UPF, Campus Ciutadella, room 40.213


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 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.

The class will be divided in two parts. In the first part one of the instructors will give a lecture for the entire group (45 to 60 min). In the second part the group will be divided in two subgroups and each instructor will run a debate about the topic of the lecture with one group. Further instructions will be given in the presentation of the course.

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. 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:

(1) Active participation in class discussions and in the online forum: 10% of the final grade. Classes will be taught in a dialogical methodology. It is important to read in advance the assigned readings and come to the class prepared for discussion. The class will be divided in two parts. During the first hour and fifteen minutes one of the instructors will give a presentation of the relevant topic. During the final 45 minutes the group will be divided in two subgroups that will have two separate debates about the relevant topic (each one moderated by one instructor)

In addition, instructors will generate discussions in the online forum and students are expected to engage in argument there and share whatever they find interesting related to the course with their classmates

(2) Policy or research paper (3,000 to 4.000 words): 50% 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).
- 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:

(3) Video-presentation: 20% of the final grade. Each student will have to record a video-presentation (maximum six minutes long) with a defense of the policy or research paper, trying to be innovative, creative, and persuasive.

(4) Outline and feedback as discussant: 10% of the final grade. In the aula global we will create an essay clinic where each student will have to provide feedback to the outlines of the final essay of two classmates.  


SESSION 1: (Tuesday, January 11th)
Introduction to political philosophy: law, justice and legitimacy - Josep Lluis Martí i Jahel Queralt

1. Main challenges of global politics and global law
2. Morality and law
3. The concept of justice
4. The concept of political legitimacy
5. Overview of the course
6. Methodology

Required readings:

• 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: (Tuesday, January 18th)
The new scenario: a globalized and digitized world – Josep Lluis Martí

1. Globalization and new global challenges
2. Technological revolutions and technological threats
3. The power of networks and collaboration

Required readings:

• McKinsey Global Institute Report: “Digital Globalization. The New Era of Global Flows”:
Scheuerman, William, “Globalization”, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2018, SECTION 3 ONLY, accessible at:

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.
• 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).
• 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: (Friday, January 21st)
State sovereignty and international order – Jahel Queralt

1. The concept of state sovereignty
2. Westphalian order and the evolution of sovereignty
3. The new paradigm of global governance

Required readings:

• Philpott, Daniel, “Sovereignty”, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2020, SECTION 1 ONLY, 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: (Tuesday, January 25th)
Theories of justice: utilitarianism – Jahel Queralt

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

Required readings:

• Sandel, Michael, Justice. What’s the Right Thing to Do?, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giraux 2009: ch. 2. Video:
• Singer, Peter, “Equality for Animals?” Practical Ethics, Cambridge, 1979, chap. 3).

Further reading:

• Mill, J.S, Utilitarianism, chapters 1, 2, and 4. Available here
•Williams, Bernard. "A Critique of Utilitarianism", in J. J. C. Smart and Bernard Williams Utilitarianism: For and Against, Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University, 1977.
• Crisp, R. Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Mill on Utilitarianism, London: Routledge, 1997, chaps. 2 and 3.
• Kymlicka, Will, Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, chap. 2

SESSION 5: (Tuesday, February 1st)
Theories of justice II: liberal egalitarianism – Jahel Queralt

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

Required readings:

• Sandel, Michael, Justice. What’s the Right Thing to Do?, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giraux, 2009: chapters 5 and 6.
• Rawls, John, Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, edited by Erin Kelly. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001. Excerpts Further reading:
• Richard Arneson, ''Rawls, Responsibility, and Distributive Justice,'' in Marc Fleurbaey et al. (eds.) Justice, Political Liberalism, and Utilitarianism: Themes from Harsanyi and Rawls. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
• Casal, Paula and Andrew Williams, "Equality", in Catriona McKinnon (ed.) Issues in Political Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008: 149-171.
• Kymlicka, Will, Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, chap. 3
• Wenar, Leif, “John Rawls”, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2017, accessible at:

SESSION 6: (Friday, February 8th)
Theories of justice III: libertarianism – Jahel Queralt

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

Required readings:

• Sandel, Michael, Justice. What’s the Right Thing to Do?, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giraux, 2009: chapters 3 and 4.
• Schmidtz, David and Robert E. Goodin, Social Welfare and Individual Responsibility, Cambridge University Press 1999, ch. 1

Further reading:

• Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, New York: Basic Books, 1974, chap. 7.
• Brenann, Jason, “Libertarianism after Nozick”, Philosophy Compass, 2018, 13 (2): e12485
• Mack, Eric, “Robert Nozick’s Political Philosophy”, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2018, accessible at:
• Peter Vallentyne, “Left-Libertarianism”, in David Estlund (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Political Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2012: chap. 8.

SESSION 7: (Tuesday, February 23rd)
Theories of justice IV: republicanism – Josep Lluis Martí

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

Required readings:

• 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:
• Lovett, Frank, “Republicanism”, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2018, accessible at:
• Pettit, Philip, On the People’s Terms, Cambridge UP, 2012.
• Pettit, Philip, Just Freedom. A Moral Compass for a Complex World, Norton, 2014.

SESSION 8: (Tuesday, March 2nd)
The debate on global justice: world poverty and global inequalities - Jahel Queralt

1. Introduction: the new historical background in a globalized world
2. Peter Singer’s Drowning Child Argument: humanitarian duties versus duties of justice
3. The Rawlsian debate on global justice: Charles Beitz’ application of the difference principle, John Rawls’ Law of Peoples, and Thomas Pogge’s arguments on global responsibility
4. The statist reaction: the realist argument, the institutionalist argument, and the nationalist argument (David Miller’s response)

Required readings:

• Brock, Gillian, “Global Justice”, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2018, SECTIONS 1, 2, 9 and 10 ONLY, accessible at:
• Miller, David, “Cosmopolitanism”, in Brown, Garrett Wallace and David Held (eds), The Cosmopolitanism Reader, London: Polity Press, 2010, pp. 377-392. 8

Further readings:

• Blake, Michael, “International distributive justice”, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2013, accessible at:
• 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.
• 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.

SESSION 9: (Friday, March 5th)
Human rights theory – Jahel Queralt

1. The Concept of Human rights
2. Moral and Legal human rights
3. Philosophical justifications of human rights: orthodox and political views
4. The content of human rights
5. Challenges to human rights
6. Expanding Human Rights and the problem of hyperinflation: the case of economic liberties

Required readings:

• Beitz, C. (2001) Human Rights as a Common Concern. The American Political Science Review 95: 269-282.
• Nickel, J. (2007) Making sense of Human Rights 2nd edition (Blackwell), ch.5

Further readings:

• Cruft, S. Matthew Liao & Massimo Renzo (2015) The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights: An Overview. In Rowan Cruft, S. Matthew Liao & Massimo Renzo (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 1-44 (2015)
• Pogge, T (2007) World Poverty and Human Rights (Polity), ch.2.
• Shue, H. (1980) Basic Rights (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton. University Press) pp. 13-22, 29-40, 51-64.
• Posner, E. (2014) The Twilight of Human Rights Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), Chs. 3-5, 7.
• “Human Rights”, in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessible at

SESSION 10: (Tuesday, March 9th)
The legitimacy of international institutions – Josep Lluis Martí

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

Required readings:

• Christiano, Thomas, “Authority”, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2012, SECTIONS 1, 2, 6, 7 and 8 ONLY, 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: (Tuesday, March 16th)
Models of global order: democratic statism vs. global democracy – Josep Lluis Martí

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 digitized world, again

Required readings:

• 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.

Further reading:

• Archibugi, Daniele, “The Architecture of Cosmopolitan Democracy”, in The Global 10 Commonwealth of Citizens, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008, pp. 85-122.
• 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: (Tuesday, March 23rd)

Global law and global constitutionalism – Josep Lluis Martí

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

Required readings:

• Peters, Anne, “The Merits of Global Constitutionalism”, Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 16, 2, 2009.
• 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,
• Kumm, Matthias, “Constitutionalism and the Cosmopolitan State”, NYU Law School Working Papers, 2013.
• 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.
• Domingo, Rafael, The New Global Law, Cambridge U.P., 2011.
• Slaughter, Anne-Marie, The Chessboard and the Web. Strategies of Connection in a Networked World, Yale UP, 2017.

Other considerations

Plagiarism Policy:

Plagiarism is strictly prohibited, as inthe multiple use of coursework. These practices will be detected with the assistance of mechanisms such as Turnitin software (installed in the Aula Global). Supervisors shall bring misconduct to the attention of the Master's Programme Coordinator. In such cases, students will recieve a fail grande and will be subject to the UPF Disciplinary Regime, approved bu Agreement of the Goverment council of July 18, 2012.

See different forms of plagiarism and examples of them here:­‐integrity/faculty/committing/examples/index.sht

Ressubmissions policy:

Students who fail the course will have an opportunity to present an amended or new essay during the following three weeks after the deadline. Resubmitting the essay will have a penalty of 1 point on the final grade of the course.