Prof. Robert Audi, John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy at University of Notre Dame
If we are patriots, and especially if we are nationalists, we take ourselves to have obligations to our fellow citizens. But if we believe that every person matters, and especially if we believe in some kind of equality of moral status (as on the view that all human beings are children of God)—or in some other way equally “citizens” in this globalized world—we will also think that we have transnational obligations. These include obligations concerning resistance to global warming, support of charities, and, in perhaps more direct ways, preserving world peace. On these and other counts, the current refugee crisis is a major concern. It threatens the stability of the entire Middle East, extends to countries in Africa and Asia, and poses enormous challenges in Europe. Other concerns include dangers posed by failed states and “rogue regimes.” With these and other problems in view, this presentation considers the extent to which some version of nationalism or, by contrast, cosmopolitanism, is morally justified. Our answer to this question will have major bearing on how conscientious citizens should respond to the global problems now confronting humanity.