"The Moral Right to International Freedom of Movement"

Migration and Membership in Troubled Times - Ethics, Law and Politics, Seminar Series 2016/17

  • Date: Jan 31, 2017
  • Time: 16:00 - 18:00
  • Speaker: Andreas Cassee (Freie Universität Berlin)
  • Andreas Cassee is a visiting fellow of the Kollegforschergruppe Justitia Amplificata at Freie Universität Berlin. He received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Zurich, where he was a research assistant at the Chair for Applied Ethics. His publications include the monograph „Globale Bewegungsfreiheit. Ein philosophisches Plädoyer für offene Grenzen“ (Suhrkamp 2016) and the volume „Migration und Ethik“ (edited with Anna Goppel, Mentis 2012).
  • Location: MPI-MMG, Hermann-Föge-Weg 11, Göttingen
  • Room: Library Hall
"The Moral Right to International Freedom of Movement"

For more details please contact recke(at)mmg.mpg.de.

Public debates about immigration typically presuppose that states have a right to grant or deny entry to would-be immigrants as they see fit. In my book, I challenge this assumption. Neither freedom of association nor associative ownership rights or (communitarian or liberal nationalist) appeals to cultural self-determination provide a convincing moral justification for a general right to exclude. Rather, we should accept a moral right to international freedom of movement for the same reasons that justify the established right to freedom of movement within a state’s territory. This right to international freedom of movement is not an absolute right. But it calls for a paradigm shift: Requests to immigrate are not like marriage proposals, the acceptance of which is entirely up to the receiving party. Rather, every person has a moral right to move freely on the surface of the earth, and restrictions are only justified in exceptional cases of conflict with other sufficiently weighty moral rights.

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