Toward a decolonial global ethics

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This paper argues that decolonial theory can offer a distinctive and valuable ethical lens. Decolonial perspectives give rise to an ethics that is fundamentally global but distinct from, and critical of, moral cosmopolitanism. Decolonial ethics shares with cosmopolitanism a refusal to circumscribe normative commitments on the basis of existing political and cultural boundaries. It differs from cosmopolitanism, though, by virtue of its rejection of the individualism and universalism of cosmopolitan thought. Where cosmopolitan approaches tend to articulate abstract principles developed from within a particular Western tradition, decolonial approaches reject abstract global designs in favour of inter-cultural dialogue amongst multiple people(s), including peoples who deem collective and non-human entities to be of fundamental moral importance. In addition, decolonial global ethics rejects universality in favour of ‘pluriversality’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-397
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Global Ethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2017

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Global Ethics on 21/09/2017, available online:


  • Decolonial
  • Global Ethics
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Pluriverse
  • Colonialism


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