Is the Rule of Law Cosmopolitan?

35 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011

See all articles by Robin L. West

Robin L. West

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: 2000


In a short and artful essay that evoked a blaze of criticism, Martha Nussbaum urged us a few years ago to heed the ancient call for a virtuous and humane cosmopolitanism: if we are sincere in our societal commitment to justice, and genuine in our individual quest to lead a just and good life, then we must acknowledge the moral equality - the equal worth and equal dignity - of each and all of the world's inhabitants. This claim, if true and if seriously regarded, would have profound consequences. Individual, national and communal choices and actions, Nussbaum and her classical authorities say, must, to be just, be undertaken in full and equal regard for the consequences they impose upon all - not just upon our community, our tribe, our nation, our neighbors, or friends, those we see or hear from on a daily basis, or those to whom we have ties forged of blood, genes, geography, affection, common boundaries or shared traditions - but upon us all.

Keywords: Martha Nussbaum, Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism, ethical cosmopolitanism, rule of law, legal justice, equal justice

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K39

Suggested Citation

West, Robin L., Is the Rule of Law Cosmopolitan? (2000). Quinnipiac Law Review, Vol. 19, p. 259, 2000, Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 11-104, Available at SSRN:

Robin L. West (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

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