Cosmopolitanism, Custom and Complexity: Kant's Cosmopolitan Norms in Action
Tracey Dowdeswell, "Cosmopolitanism, Custom and Complexity: Kant's Cosmopolitan Norms in Action" (2011) 3:3 Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Journal 176.
23 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2015 Last revised: 7 Jan 2016
Date Written: December 1, 2010
Immanuel Kant's Cosmopolitanism has come to stand alongside Political Realism and Liberal Internationalism as one of three broad theories of ethics in international relations. Yet Cosmopolitanism has been subjected to criticisms that the universal norms identified by Kant - including such norms as hospitality, reciprocity, and publicity (transparency and free political participation) - are Western and Eurocentric in nature, incompatible with cultural pluralism, and lack the justification and legitimacy for the broad-based consensus required for a Cosmopolitan political sphere to emerge among the world’s diverse peoples. This paper seeks to address these criticisms of Cosmopolitanism by studying examples of Cosmopolitan norms in action. These examples have been drawn from diverse regions around the globe to represent self-organized, 'self-legislating', civil societies that have themselves developed the rules that guide their behaviour and the terms of their discourse in the absence of a centralized governing authority. It is hoped that this approach will contribute to this ongoing debate by demonstrating that Cosmopolitan norms can be found in a diverse array of human communities and cultures, that Cosmopolitan norms are not only compatible with pluralism, but are instrumental in its success and vitality, and, finally, that the flourishing of such civil societies shows that the adoption of Cosmopolitan norms are strongly correlated with successful outcomes and well-being.
Keywords: International Relations, Political Theory, Kant, Cosmopolitanism, Hospitality, Holocaust Rescuing
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