The paper defends the so-called political conception of the scope of justice proposed by Thomas Nagel. The argument has three stages: (a) I argue that A. J. Julius’ infl uential criticism of the political conception can be answered. Pace Julius, actual and (relevant) hypothetical cases of state coercion do in fact involve a claim to the effect that people have a duty to obey, so the problem of justice does arise, according to Nagel’s criterion, in the critical cases scrutinised by Julius. Hence the ‘perverseness’ objection lapses. (b) I argue, against other critics of Nagel’s view, that in central instances of international coercion such as immigration control people are not asked to accept the ongoing coercion. Consequently, the problem of justice does not, on Thomas Nagel’s view, arise internationally. Furthermore, to the extent that political authority is exercised internationally, it does not give rise to justifi catory burdens involving principles of distributive justice. (c) I relate the notion of authority to other aspects of the political conception, including responsibility, and argue that together they constitute an attractive alternative to an infl uential allocative conception of justice. Keywords: Thomas Nagel, global justice, political conception, A. J. Julius, authority, responsibility.
Croatian Journal of Philosophy, 2012, Vol XII, Issue 34, p. 77-96