Questions regarding immigration are among the most controversial topics of social and legal philosophy, as well as of ethics, political theory, and politics itself. The tensions can be framed as the conflict between positions of moral universalism (or cosmopolitan individualism) and particularism (often a form of communitarianism). However, in jurisprudence, it is mostly treated as an antagonism between a human rights-based and a sovereignty-based approach to international law.
Despite their significance today, few philosophers have discussed questions of immigration ethics before the twentieth century. Among the most prominent exceptions are Immanuel Kant, Emer de Vattel, and Henry Sidgwick.
According to Kant, in a brief section of his 1795 essay Perpetual Peace (Zum Ewigen Frieden), what follows from the original common possession of the surface of the earth is only the cosmopolitan right to hospitality, which is supposed to be a right of temporary sojourn (Besuchsrecht)...
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