Socrates the Cosmopolitan

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I argue that the Stoics were right to portray Socrates as a cosmopolitan, because this portrait is fully consistent with the Socrates of Plato's Socratic dialogues. His rejection of ordinary political engagement in favor of an extraordinary way of doing the political work of improving others lives by examining them is also the rejection of locally engaged politics in favor of benefiting human beings as such. It is less clear whether his cosmopolitanism is moderate (admitting special obligations to benefit compatriots alongside general obligations to benefit humans as such) or strict (denying the special obligations), but I argue that the evidence of Socrates' attachment to Athens, in the Crito and elsewhere, is compatible with his being a strict cosmopolitan.
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Archival date: 2018-09-18
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