Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Garrett Bredeson

Second Advisor

Horst Mewes

Third Advisor

Dominic Bailey

Abstract

At present there is a record number of refugees seeking asylum worldwide. While the humanitarian crisis continues to worsen, still no consensus has been reached as to how the global community should respond. In recent years some countries have welcomed in refugees by the thousands, others have closed their borders to them entirely. In this thesis I attempt to determine what moral obligations the global community has to these displaced peoples. My analysis focuses largely on the philosophical arguments of Thomas Pogge and Peter Singer, and works to refute Garrett Hardin’s argument for closed borders. Ultimately, I conclude that the combination of Singer’s utilitarian theory and Pogge’s global justice theory convincingly illustrate that the global community, and developed nations in particular, have considerable moral duties to the refugee population. These duties include providing refugees with aid and safe opportunities for resettlement, as well as addressing the global systems that perpetuate the conflicts and poverty that force refugees to flee their home countries.

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