"The thin justice of international law" with Prof Steve Ratner

Past Event

21 October 2015, 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Seminar Room, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street, (Corner of Catte and Holywell Street), Oxford, OX1 3BD

This event is organised by The Oxford Martin Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations

Speaker: Professor Steve Ratner, University of Michigan Law School

In a world suffused with conflict and human misery, global justice remains one of the most compelling missions of our time. Although philosophers of global justice have often stayed clear of legal institutions, international law plays a critical role in understanding the prospects for global justice. For many of the core rules of international law -- even if they came about as a result of power politics and historical contingencies -- have their own morality and represent a real-world incarnation of a vision of global justice. That ethical vision is one that I term “thin” justice. It judges international norms by the extent to which they advance peace and respect basic human rights. While not as “thick” as the justice we might minimally expert for domestic polities, nor the limit of justice for which we should strive in the international realm, it is justice deserving of the name and consistent with a cosmopolitan vision of the world. After explaining his notion of thin justice, Prof. Ratner will apply that standard to several important international norms.