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Back matter Notes. Retrieved from Bloomsbury Collections, www. McGilvray Trans. Contemporary Cosmopolitanism pp. London: Bloomsbury Academic. Accessed September 22, Email x Contemporary Cosmopolitanism In suggesting a classification of the various forms of contemporary cosmopolitanism, Samuel Scheffler discerns two principal types which can more or less contain all the others: cosmopolitanism as a doctrine concerning justice, and cosmopolitanism as a doctrine concerning culture and self.

Share x. Buy This Book. But in no case, the Stoics insist, is consideration of political engagement to be limited to one's own polis. The motivating idea is, after all, to help human beings as such, and sometimes the best way to do that is to serve as a teacher or as a political advisor in some foreign place. In this fashion, the Stoics introduce clear, practical content to their metaphor of the cosmopolis: a cosmopolitan considers moving away in order to serve, whereas a non-cosmopolitan does not.

This content admits of a strict and a more moderate interpretation. On the strict view, when one considers whether to emigrate, one recognizes prima facie no special or stronger reason to serve compatriots than to serve a set of human beings abroad. On the moderate view, one does introduce into one's deliberations extra reason to serve compatriots, although one might still, all things considered, make the best choice by emigrating.

The evidence does not permit a decisive attribution of one or the other of these interpretations to any of the earliest Stoics. But if we think that Chrysippus was deeply attracted to the Cynics' rejection of what is merely conventional, then we will find it easy to think of him as a strict cosmopolitan. Things are a bit different for at least some of the Stoics at Rome. On the one hand, the cosmopolis becomes less demanding. Whereas Chrysippus limits citizenship in the cosmos to those who in fact live in agreement with the cosmos and its law, Roman Stoics extend citizenship to all human beings by virtue of their rationality.

On the other hand, local citizenship becomes more demanding. There is no doubt that the Stoicism of Cicero's De Officiis or of Seneca's varied corpus explicitly acknowledges obligations to Rome.


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This is a moderate Stoic cosmopolitanism, and empire made the doctrine very easy for many Romans by identifying the Roman patria with the cosmopolis itself. But neither imperialism nor a literal interpretation of world citizenship is required for the philosophical point. The maximally committed cosmopolitan looks around to determine whom he can best help and how, knowing full well that he cannot help all people in just the same way, and his decision to help some people far more than others is justified by cosmopolitan lights if it is the best he can do to help human beings as such.

Stoic cosmopolitanism in its various guises was enormously persuasive throughout the Greco-Roman world. In part, this success can be explained by noting how cosmopolitan the world at that time was. Alexander the Great's conquests and the subsequent division of his empire into successor kingdoms sapped local cities of much of their traditional authority and fostered increased contacts between cities, and later, the rise of the Roman Empire united the whole of the Mediterranean under one political power.

But it is wrong to say what has frequently been said, that cosmopolitanism arose as a response to the fall of the polis or to the rise of the Roman empire. First, the polis' fall has been greatly exaggerated. Under the successor kingdoms and even — though to a lesser degree — under Rome, there remained substantial room for important political engagement locally. Second, and more decisively, the cosmopolitanism that was so persuasive during the so-called Hellenistic Age and under the Roman Empire was in fact rooted in intellectual developments that predate Alexander's conquests.

Still, there is no doubting that the empires under which Stoicism developed and flourished made many people more receptive to the cosmopolitan ideal and thus contributed greatly to the widespread influence of Stoic cosmopolitanism. Nowhere was Stoic cosmopolitanism itself more influential than in early Christianity. Early Christians took the later Stoic recognition of two cities as independent sources of obligation and added a twist. For the Stoics, the citizens of the polis and the citizens of the cosmopolis do the same work: both aim to improve the lives of the citizens.

On this view, the local city may have divine authority John ; cf. This development has two important and long-lasting consequences, which are canonized by Augustine. First, the cosmopolis again becomes a community for certain people only. Augustine makes this point most explicitly by limiting the citizenship in the city of God to those who love God. All others are relegated to the inferior — though still universal — earthly city by their love of self.

These two cities of the world, which are doomed to coexist intertwined until the Final Judgment, divide the world's inhabitants. Second, the work of politics is severed from the task of building good human lives, lives of righteousness and justice. In a nutshell, the debate now opposed the secular and the religious, and not the local and the cosmopolitan. To be sure, this debate often had cosmopolitan ramifications, which are clear enough in Dante Alighieri's plea for a universal monarchy in De Monarchia ca. But his case draws from Aristotle and Roman history, not explicitly from the ideal of a cosmopolis or of world citizenship, and he remains deeply concerned to adjudicate between the pope and the Holy Roman Emperor.

Cosmopolitanism slowly began to come to the fore again with the renewed study of more ancient texts, but during the humanist era cosmopolitanism still remained the exception. Despite the fact that ancient cosmopolitan sources were well-known and that many humanists emphasized the essential unity of all religions, they did not develop this idea in cosmopolitan terms.

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A few authors, however, most notably Erasmus of Rotterdam, explicitly drew on ancient cosmopolitanism to advocate the ideal of a world-wide peace. Emphasizing the unity of humankind over its division into different states and peoples, by arguing that humans are destined by Nature to be sociable and live in harmony, Erasmus pleaded for national and religious tolerance and regarded like-minded people as his compatriots Querela Pacis. Early modern natural law theory might seem a likely candidate for spawning philosophical cosmopolitanism.

Its secularizing tendencies and the widespread individualist view among its defenders that all humans share certain fundamental characteristics would seem to suggest a point of unification for humankind as a whole. However, according to many early modern theorists, what all individuals share is a fundamental striving for self-preservation, and the universality of this striving does not amount to a fundamental bond that unites or should unite all humans in a universal community.

Still, there are two factors that do sometimes push modern natural law theory in a cosmopolitan direction. First, some natural law theorists assume that nature implanted in humans, in addition to the tendency to self-preservation, also a fellow-feeling, a form of sociability that unites all humans at a fundamental level into a kind of world community. The appeal to such a shared human bond was very thin, however, and by no means does it necessarily lead to cosmopolitanism. Second, early modern natural law theory was often connected with social contract theory, and although most social contract theorists worked out their views mostly, if not solely, for the level of the state and not for that of international relations, the very idea behind social contract theory lends itself for application to this second level.

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Grotius, Pufendorf, and others did draw out these implications and thereby laid the foundation for international law. This prepared them to think in terms other than those of states and peoples and adopt a cosmopolitan perspective. Under the influence of the American Revolution, and especially during the first years of the French Revolution, cosmopolitanism received its strongest impulse.

A cosmopolitan was someone who was not subservient to a particular religious or political authority, someone who was not biased by particular loyalties or cultural prejudice. Furthermore, the term was sometimes used to indicate a person who led an urbane life-style, or who was fond of traveling, cherished a network of international contacts, or felt at home everywhere. Especially in the second half of the century, however, the term was increasingly also used to indicate particular philosophical convictions. Some authors revived the Cynic tradition. Despite the fact that only a few authors committed themselves to this kind of cosmopolitanism, this was the version that critics of cosmopolitanism took as their target.

Yet most eighteenth-century defenders of cosmopolitanism did not recognize their own view in these critical descriptions. They understood cosmopolitanism not as a form of ultra-individualism, but rather, drawing on the Stoic tradition, as implying the positive moral ideal of a universal human community, and they did not regard this ideal as inimical to more particular attachments such as patriotism.

Anacharsis Cloots and the Birth of Modern Cosmopolitanism

Others developed a cosmopolitan moral theory that was distinctively new. According to Kant, all rational beings are members in a single moral community. They are analogous to citizens in the political republican sense in that they share the characteristics of freedom, equality, and independence, and that they give themselves the law.

Their common laws, however, are the laws of morality, grounded in reason. Some cosmopolitans developed their view into a political theory about international relations.

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The most radical of eighteenth-century political cosmopolitans was no doubt Anacharsis Cloots Jean-Baptiste du Val-de-Grace, baron de Cloots, Cloots advocated the abolition of all existing states and the establishment of a single world state under which all human individuals would be directly subsumed. His arguments drew first of all on the general structure of social contract theory. Most other political cosmopolitans did not go as far as Cloots.

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He argues that the league of states should not have coercive military powers because that would violate the internal sovereignty of states. Some critics argued in response that Kant's position was inconsistent, because on their view, the only way to fully overcome the state of nature among states was for the latter to enter into a federative union with coercive powers. The early Fichte transformed the concept of sovereignty in the process, by conceiving it as layered, and this enabled them to argue that states ought to transfer part of their sovereignty to the federal level, but only that part that concerns their external relations to other states, while retaining the sovereignty of the states concerning their internal affairs.

Especially the first objection has been repeated ever since, but more recent interpretations have questioned its legitimacy Kleingeld , , arguing that Kant can also be read as advocating the loose league as a first step on the road toward a federation with coercive powers. Because joining this stronger form of federation should be a voluntary decision on the part of the peoples involved, to honor their political autonomy, the strong federation is not a matter of coercive international right.

On this interpretation, Kant's defense of the loose league is much more consistent. In addition to moral and political forms of cosmopolitanism, there emerged an economic form of cosmopolitan theory. The freer trade advocated by eighteenth-century anti-mercantilists, especially Adam Smith, was developed further into the ideal of a global free market by Dietrich Hermann Hegewisch Kleingeld His ideal was a world in which tariffs and other restrictions on foreign trade are abolished, a world in which the market, not the government, takes care of the needs of the people.

Against mercantilism, he argued that it is more advantageous for everyone involved if a nation imports those goods which are more expensive to produce domestically, and that the abolition of protectionism would benefit everyone. If other states were to gain from their exports, they would reach a higher standard of living and become even better trading partners, because they could then import more, too.

Moreover, on Hegewisch's view, after trade will have been liberalized world-wide, the importance of national governments will diminish dramatically. As national governments are mostly focused on the national economy and defense, he argued, their future role will be at most auxiliary. The freer the global market becomes, the more the role of the states will become negligible. Enlightenment cosmopolitanism continued to be a source of debate in the subsequent two centuries.

First, in the nineteenth century, economic globalization provoked fierce reactions. Marx and Engels tag cosmopolitanism as an ideological reflection of capitalism. They regard market capitalism as inherently expansive, breaking the bounds of the nation-state system, as evidenced by the fact that production and consumption had become attuned to faraway lands. At the same time, however, Marx and Engels also hold that the proletariat in every country shares essential features and has common interests, and the Communist movement aims to convince proletarians everywhere of these common interests.

Debates about global capitalism and about an international workers' movement have persisted. Frequently economic cosmopolitanism can be found in the advocacy of open markets, in the tradition from Adam Smith to Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman. The second inheritance from eighteenth century cosmopolitanism is found in the two centuries' worth of attempts to create peace.

It has often been noted that there are parallels between Kant's peace proposal in Toward Perpetual Peace and the structure of the League of Nations as it existed in the early part of the 20th century as well as the structure of the current United Nations, although it should also be pointed out that essential features of Kant's plan were not implemented, such as the abolition of standing armies.

Now, after the end of the cold war, there is again a resurgence of the discussion about the most appropriate world order to promote global peace, just as there was after the first and second world wars. Individuals are now the bearers of certain rights under international law, and they can be held responsible for crimes under international law in ways that cut through the shield of state sovereignty. Third, moral philosophers and moralists in the wake of eighteenth-century cosmopolitanisms have insisted that we human beings have a duty to aid fellow humans in need, regardless of their citizenship status.

There is a history of international relief efforts International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, famine relief organizations, and the like in the name of the reduction of human suffering and without regard to the nationality of those affected. In addition, because cosmopolitan duty is not restricted to duties of beneficence but also requires justice and respect, cosmopolitan values and principles have often been invoked as a motivation to oppose slavery and apartheid, and to defend the emancipation of women.

Most past cosmopolitan authors did not fully live up to the literal interpretation of their cosmopolitan theories, and one can find misogynist, racist, nationalist, religious, or class-based biases and inconsistencies in their accounts. These shortcomings have often been used as arguments against cosmopolitanism, but they are not as easily used for that purpose as it may seem. Even this brief glance backwards reveals a wide variety of views that can be called cosmopolitan.

Every cosmopolitan argues for some community among all human beings, regardless of social and political affiliation. For some, what should be shared is simply moral community, which means only that living a good human life requires serving the universal community by helping human beings as such, perhaps by promoting the realization of justice and the guarantee of human rights. Others conceptualize the universal community in terms of political institutions to be shared by all, in terms of cultural expressions that can be shared or appreciated by all, or in terms of economic markets that should be open to all.

The most common cosmopolitanism — moral cosmopolitanism — does not always call itself such. One can here distinguish between strict and moderate forms of cosmopolitanism. The strict cosmopolitans in this sphere operate sometimes from utilitarian assumptions e.

Among these strict cosmopolitans some will say that it is permissible, at least in some situations, to concentrate one's charitable efforts on one's compatriots, while others deny this — their position will depend on the details of their moral theory. Other philosophers whom we may call moderate cosmopolitans including, e. Among the moderate cosmopolitans, many further distinctions can be drawn, depending on the reasons that are admitted for recognizing special responsibilities to compatriots and depending on how the special responsibilities are balanced with the cosmopolitan duties to human beings generally.

We then explore some common concerns about cosmopolitanism - such as whether cosmopolitan commitments are necessarily in tension with other affiliations people typically have and how we should deal with issues concerning a perceived lack of authority in the global domain - and whether these can be addressed. We also look briefly at how the concern with feasibility has led some to take up the challenge of devising public policy that is cosmopolitan in outlook, before offering some concluding remarks on future directions in these debates.

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