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Cosmopolitanism: in search of cosmos

Author(s): Fred Dallmayr

Journal: Ethics & Global Politics
ISSN 1654-4951

Volume: 5;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: globalization | liquidity | banal cosmopolitansim | normativism | pragmatism | hermeneutics

The essay seeks to disentangle the meaning or meanings of the catch word “cosmopolitanism”. To contribute to its clarification, the essay distinguishes between three main interpretations: empirical, normative, and practical or interactive. In the first reading, the term coincides basically with “globalization” where the latter refers to such economic and technical processes as the global extension of financial and communications networks. A different meaning is given to the term by normative thinkers like Kant, Rawls, and Habermas. In this reading, cosmopolitanism refers to a set of moral and/or legal norms or principles governing international politics, regardless of whether these principles are derived from “noumenal” consciousness, an “original position” or rational discourse. Noting the is/ought dilemma troubling normativism, the essay introduces the further meaning of practical interaction. Indebted to the teachings of pragmatism, hermeneutics, and virtue ethics, this reading mitigates the split between norm and conduct through practical engagement and education.
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