Caring for Strangers: Can Partiality Support Cosmopolitanism?

Diacritica 30 (2):87-108 (2016)
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In their strife for designing a moral system where everyone is given equal consideration, cosmopolitan theorists have merely tolerated partiality as a necessary evil (insofar it means that we give priority to our kin opposite the distant needy). As a result, the cosmopolitan ideal has long departed from our moral psychologies and our social realities. Here I put forward partial cosmopolitanism as an alternative to save that obstacle. Instead of demanding impartial universal action, it requires from us that we are equally responsive in all the relationships we stand in. That goes from the local to the cosmopolitan sphere, since I defend that we are related with strangers as co-members of the global community. Thus, partiality not only is accommodated by cosmopolitanism, but actually supports it: only by having meaningful personal relationships we become able to care for distant strangers.

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Pilar Lopez-Cantero
Tilburg University


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