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Cosmopolitanisms in Enlightenment Europe and Beyond


Edited By Mónica García-Salmones and Pamela Slotte

This volume offers critical, historical and theoretical perspectives on cosmopolitanism, paying attention to its implications and manifestations both within and outside Europe. It also explores the links between cosmopolitanism and teleological understandings of Europe: there is an idea of «progress» not far below the surface of the concept, but what does it mean and what is its ultimate aim? Through this analysis, the authors uncover several cosmopolitanisms originating and playing out in different periods of European history, most notably during Antiquity and during the European Enlightenment. The book shows that some of the languages of cosmopolitanism did not originate in or locate themselves exclusively in Europe, but that they nonetheless spread through connections with that continent, most commonly through the colonial encounter. The study contains valuable historical analyses of cosmopolitanism in context, in Europe, Russia, the Ottoman Empire and Africa. The book is based on papers presented at the conference «Revisiting the Imaginations of Europe and the World: Coming to Terms with Teleologies and Assessing Cosmopolitanism», held at the University of Helsinki in 2010.


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PART III DIFFERENT COSMOPOLITANISMS AND THEIR PRACTICES 93 We either Invent or We Err Post-Colonial Critical Cosmopolitanism in the Nineteenth Century? Francisco A. ORTEGA Since he [Simón Rodríguez] is a cosmopolitan philosopher, he has neither country nor home, nor family, nothing. Bolívar to Cayetano Carreño, uncle of Simón Rodríguez, June 27, 1825 1. Introduction In recent years cosmopolitanism – the belief that human beings, re- gardless of their origin, faith or race are fundamentally the same and constitute a single moral community – has gained prestige and has become a contemporary intellectual reference to those interested in critically engaging the democratic and emancipatory possibilities pre- sent but not realised in the process of globalisation that has ensued since the Enlightenment. Though cosmopolitanism enjoys a redoubtable philosophical tradition, going back at least to Diogenes and the Cynics and the Stoic tradition of Cicero and Seneca, those who argue for the critical potential of contemporary cosmopolitanism contend that it gained notoriety during the second half of the eighteenth century as an ideal that could, as Emer de Vattel stated, bring lasting peace on earth and produce desired human happiness.1 According to Vattel a cosmopol- itan view would allow: […] the nations of the world to communicate their goods and their under- standing. A profound peace would reign over the earth, and would enrich it with its precious fruits. Industry, science and the arts also would be as much concerned with our well-being as with our needs. There would be...

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