Six Varieties of Cosmopolitanism in Late Eighteenth-Century Germany

Journal of the History of Ideas 60 (3):505-524 (1999)

Abstract

Cosmopolitanism is not a single encompassing idea but rather comes in at least six different varieties, which have often been conflated in previous literature. This is shown on the basis of the discussion in late eighteenth-century Germany (roughly, 1780-1800). The six varieties are: (1) moral cosmopolitanism, the view that all humans belong to a single moral community; political cosmopolitanism, which advocates (2) reform of the international political and legal order or (3) a strong notion of human rights; (4) cultural cosmopolitanism, which emphasizes the value of global cultural pluralism; (5) economic cosmopolitanism, which aims at establishing a global free market; and (6) the romantic ideal of humanity as united by faith and love. These six kinds of cosmopolitanism are not mutually exclusive, and the relationships among them are clarified.

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