Cosmopolitanism: a critique


Cosmopolitanism, originally a doctrine of world citizenship, has come in recent political philosophy to mean simply an ethical outlook in which every human being is equally an object of moral concern. However ethical cosmopolitans slide from this moral truism to deny, controversially, that as agents we have special duties of limited scope. Political communities create relations of reciprocity between their citizens and pursue projects that reflect culturally specific values and beliefs, generating special duties among fellow-members. Strong cosmopolitanism would require the creation of a world government, and this could only be an imperialist project in which existing cultural differences were either nullified or privatised

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