My doctoral project on the motivational critique of cosmopolitanism dealt primarily with questions of social justice. However, in 2016, preparing a paper for conference on cosmopolitanism and patriotism in democratic armies, I was prompted to think about analogies between the problem of motivation in cosmopolitan justice and the problem of motivation in cosmopolitan wars – specifically, armed humanitarian interventions. The result is now published in Ethics & International Affairs.
This is my first foray into the ethics of war, and I enjoyed writing it quite a bit. There are many questions still left open here, and I hope to be able to address them one day!
Abstract: This article presents a new understanding of the problem of cosmopolitan motivation in war, comparing it to the motivational critique of social justice cosmopolitanism. The problem of cosmopolitanism’s “motivational gap” is best interpreted as a political one, not a meta-ethical or ethical one. That is, the salient issue is not whether an individual soldier is able to be motivated by cosmopolitan concerns, nor is it whether being motivated by cosmopolitanism would be too demanding. Rather, given considerations of legitimacy in the use of political power, a democratic army has to be able to motivate its soldiers to take on the necessary risks without relying on coercion alone. Patriotic identification offers a way to achieve this in wars of national defense, but less so in armed humanitarian interventions (AHIs). Two potential implications are that either AHIs should be privatized or that national armies should be transformed to become more cosmopolitan.