Call for Papers: World Government

Special issue of Philosophical Papers

Guest editor: Attila Tanyi (University of Tromsø)

Theorizing about world government has a long history. Formulations of some version of the idea already appear in Chinese, Indian as well as ancient Greek thought and later supporters (in Western philosophy) include Dante and Erasmus (while others, such as Bentham and Kant, offered qualified support only).

Today the idea appears to enjoy a new renaissance. This is perhaps not surprising. The world is encountering several global existential challenges, among them climate change, global injustice, and the threat of (nuclear) war. Some think that there is only one adequate answer to these challenges: to create a world state that governs the entire globe. Others think that creating a world state is not a good idea for a variety of reasons, both moral as well as non-moral (such as political or pragmatic).

The aim of this issue of Philosophical Papers is to contribute to the ongoing debate with articles that discuss, clarify and, in general, take a stand on the matter of world government.


Possible questions for discussion include:

– Is it desirable to have a world government? How do we answer the classic arguments against world government – the threat of tyranny or the projected loss of diversity should a world government come about? Are there positive ethical arguments for world government? In particular, does a cosmopolitan outlook support world government? Should our common humanity lead us to set up common governance? Or should we stop short of creating a world government relying instead on authoritative global institutions?

– Why do we need world government? Will a world government offer solution to global injustice or climate change? Or will it make them worse? Does empirical data support any of these claims? How much can we extrapolate from present times as to what a world government will be capable of and how much does this morally (and politically) matter? Do we need world government, or is merely desirable to have one?

– What are the alternatives to a world government? Can we have global governance without global government? Or can (and should) we return what is often called a ‘neo-medieval’ system with blurred boundaries and overlapping loyalties as well as sovereignties as the best solution to our global problems as some claim?

– Are there different types of world government? What are they and which is suited best for our purposes? Should world government be a democracy or something else?

– Is it realistic to think that we can bring about world government in this world? What would the transition look like and should we go along with it? What is the bearing of the ideal vs. non-ideal distinction in political theory on the question of world government?

– How does the prospect of world government look from different ethical and cultural perspectives?


The deadline for receipt of submissions is 1 October 2018. This issue of Philosophical Papers, comprising both invited and submitted articles, will appear in March 2019.

Manuscripts should be submitted electronically, as a pdf- or word-document attachment, to <>. Authors must include their full name, affiliation, and address for email correspondence with their submission.

Further enquires may be addressed to either Attila Tanyi at <> or Ward E. Jones at <>.