What kind of normative constraints do domestic political theories generate at the global level? While much attention has been given to the global implications of specific domestic theories, little if any attention has been dedicated to the more general question - in what ways can a domestic theory of justice generate normative constraints for a global theory of justice? My aim here is to take first steps in addressing this meta-theoretical question. The main reason why global justice theorists have been ignoring this question is the implicit assumption that a domestic political theory can generate normative constraints for global theory only if its conclusions need to be replicated at the global level. While intuitive, I argue that this replication framework misses the possibility that domestic theories can have global implications by directly modifying, through their design process and output, the starting point of global theory. I elaborate this alternative modification framework in two main stages. The first introduces in detail the distinction between the replication and modification frameworks. The second stage demonstrates the distinctive value of the modification framework by applying it to two specific themes central to global political philosophy: the normative constraints that domestic egalitarianism generates for thinking about global distributive justice, and the nature of individual moral duties concerning global institutions. Understanding these issues through the modification framework will allow us to render coherent global theories that might seem incoherent with their domestic origins. More generally, this understanding might yield surprising normative conclusions about global affairs.
- methodology of political theory
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