Cosmopolitanism and Conflict

Cosmopolitanism and Conflict

Cosmopolitanism and Conflict

John Cabot University, Rome, October 11-13 2013


Mass Democracy and Republicanism without States

James Bohman (St. Louis)

My paper explores two interrelated features of modern political organization, bothof which have consequences for current practices. The first is an understanding ofdemocracy that I call self-legislation, the act of self constitution of the publicas the subject and authors of the laws. I argue that this most common conceptionof modern political life has lost much its progressive character in light of fundamental changesin processes of self determination. The second set of concepts mayoffer a way to address the weaknesses of self legislation, based on anargument based in deliberative systems theory. This possibility is basedon the emergence of transnational mass publics. One consequence of suchmass publics is that they raise the level of contestation and conflict in the international system.

Re-reading Hannah Arendt’s On Revolution with Cosmopolitan Intent

Robert Fine(Warwick)

Arendt’s On Revolution is not a cosmopolitan text, but it seems to me that, read as a phenomenology of experience and not as a purely normative political theory, there is much to be learnt from it for our vision and understanding of our what Arendt called our 'cosmopolitan existence'. I shall argue that On Revolution is best understood not as a statement of Arendt's own political opinions, but rather as an analysis of the developmental forms of consciousness that constitute the modern revolutionary tradition. In every case we have to deal with the gulf between the modern concept of revolution (as novelty and freedom) and the experience of conflict. It is in this context that I shall approach the further development of revolutionary consciousness, beyond the text itself, in relation to contemporary struggles for a cosmopolitan outlook.

Crime and Punishment in a Cosmopolitan Society: The Effectiveness of Emergent International Criminal Justice

Daniele Archibugi (Birkbeck and CNR, Rome)

The paper tries to identify some key principles that distinguish cosmopolitanism from other approaches in terms of individual responsibility in international affairs. Many of these principles, and most notably the idea that a political community is not responsible for the wrongdoings of its rulers, have been absorbed by international law and practice. After the end of WWII, these principles have been codified in important documents, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Nuremberg Principles. After the end of the Cold War, a further crucial development has emerged and the international community has started to be more active in pursuing investigations against egregious criminals, through a variety of national and international courts.

But we are still far from a proper cosmopolitan criminal accountability. International hearings have put at the bar the weak players of world politics, rather than the strong. This confirms the realist prediction that the legal infrastructure is likely to reinforce the actual distribution of power, rather than counter-balance it. Moreover, the disproportion between the scale of international crimes, on the one hand, and number of individuals at the bar, on the other hand, undermines the legitimacy of individual criminal justice.

This paper explores the following possible integrations to the current judicial system for international crimes following basic cosmopolitan principles. (1) The International Criminal Court should fully implement its mandate, by also being able to cover the crime most likely to be committed by strong world political players, namely, aggression. (2) The ICC should also be empowered to investigate crimes committed by powerful players. (3) The noble tradition of Opinion Tribunals, inaugurated by Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre and Lelio Basso with the Tribunal for War Crimes in Vietnam, should become a core aspect of a cosmopolitan criminal justice, since it is more likely to target the powerful and the winners than the powerless and the losers. Even if Opinion Tribunals are not in a position to inflict punishment, they can vindicate the reasons of the weak players. (4) While the cosmopolitan idea that key culprits should be held criminally responsible still holds, there is the risk of exonerating collective responsibility through a few scapegoats. Some fresh forms of addressing major crimes through collective sanctions need to be explored to make a genuine reconciliation possible. (5) Finally, the potential of truth and reconciliation commissions, on the model pioneered by South Africa, should be further developed as a method to integrate individual criminal responsibility.

Kant, Conflict, and Colonialism

Pauline Kleingeld(Groningen)

Kant is widely regarded as a fierce critic of colonialism. In Toward Perpetual Peace and TheMetaphysics of Morals, for example, he forcefully condemns European conduct in the colonies as a flagrant violation of the principles of right. However, his earlier views on colonialism have not yet received much detailed scrutiny. In this essay I argue that Kant actually endorsed and justified European colonialism until the early 1790s. I show that his initial endorsement and his subsequent criticism of colonialism are closely related to his changing views on race, because his endorsement of a racial hierarchy plays a crucial role in his justification of European colonialism. He gave up both while he was developing his legal and political philosophy during the mid 1790s, and adopted a more egalitarian version of the cosmopolitan relationship among peoples. In the final section I address the question of whether Kant’s mature cosmopolitan ideal is the ideal of a future without conflict.

Camus’s Rebellious Cosmopolitanism:Contradictions, Conflicts, and Limits of the Cosmopolitan Disposition

Patrick Hayden(St. Andrews)

Albert Camus’s existential thinking has been the object of renewed interest over the past decade. Political theorists have looked to his work to shed light on the contradictions and violence of modernity and the dynamics of postcolonial justice. This paper contends that Camus’s account of the modern human condition provides a means of engaging critically with one of the most compelling ideas linked to thinking about global politics today: cosmopolitanism. By developing Camus’s position on absurdity and rebellion, it suggests that the idea of cosmopolitanism should be situated in a post-foundationalist and post-teleological nexus to prevent it becoming a new political ideology of immutable truth. In order to make this argument, the paper focuses on how Camus’s thinking supports a rebellious cosmopolitan disposition towards global transformations, exclusions, and injustices. In so doing, it shows that cosmopolitanism must adopt an oppositional stance against the injustices of a deeply divided world, yet at the same time accept theoretical, factual, and moral limits on its vision and actions.

Plenary sessions1


A Responsibility for the Symptom or the Cause?Jus ante Bellum and Reevaluating the Cosmopolitan Approach to Humanitarian Intervention

Garrett Brown (Sheffield) and Alexandra Bohm (Sheffield)

Cosmopolitans often argue that the international community has a humanitarian responsibility to militarily intervene in order to protect vulnerable individuals from violent threats and to pursue the establishment of a condition of cosmopolitan justice based on the notion of a ‘global rule of law’. The purpose of this paper is to argue that many of these cosmopolitan claims are incomplete and untenable on cosmopolitan grounds because they ignore the systemic and chronic structural factors that underwrite the root causes of these humanitarian threats. By way of examining cosmopolitan arguments for humanitarian military intervention and how systemic problems are further ignored in the Responsibility to Protect (RtP), this paper suggests that many contemporary cosmopolitan arguments are guilty of focusing too narrowly on justifying a responsibility to respond to the symptoms of crisis versus demanding a similarly robust justification for a responsibility to alleviate persistent structural causes. Although this paper recognizes that immediate principles of humanitarian intervention will at times be necessary, the paper seeks to draw attention to what we are calling principles of Jus ante Bellum (right before war) and to stress that current cosmopolitan arguments about humanitarian intervention will remain insufficient without the incorporation of robust principles of distributive global justice which can provide secure foundations for a more thoroughgoing cosmopolitan condition of public right.

A Cosmopolitan Approach to Military Intervention: Reintroducing Natural Disaster Scenarios

Lauren Traczykowski (Birmingham)

In this paper I argue that individuals affected by natural disaster, in comparison with those affected by humanitarian emergencies or war, are equally deserving of international assistance. However, military intervention for natural disasters is often discounted because such responses are considered the obligation of national authorities who would consent to such an intervention when required. As I will discuss, these points do not always hold. I therefore argue for the expansion of analysis of cosmopolitan military intervention beyond humanitarian response to include intervention in natural disasters.

My argument contains two central claims. First, I argue that humanitarian intervention and natural disaster response are operationally and ethically similar, and therefore a cosmopolitan approach to a military intervention for natural disaster is justified and necessary. Second, and relatedly, I argue that a cosmopolitan approach to military intervention in natural disaster response will enhance policymaking for all types of military intervention and allow for an improved and deep acceptance of a cosmopolitan perspective into both global post-conflict and natural disaster policymaking.

Further, I demonstrate that the goal of a cosmopolitan humanitarian military intervention (assisting affected individuals), the issues arising during a military intervention (leadership vacuums, adherence to international conventions, and further atrocities), as well as justifications for intervention (just cause, and last resort) can be directly compared to a military intervention with a cosmopolitan ethic for a natural disaster. After offering this theoretical comparison, I consider a real-world example, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, to further support my argument.

I thus show that by reintroducing natural disasters into a cosmopolitan approach to military intervention, we can allow for more robust post-conflict operations, as well as increase the number of lives saved following a natural disaster.

How Cosmopolitanism Reduces Conflict: Narrow and Broad Readings of Kant's Third Ingredient for Peace

Luigi Caranti (Catania/CNR, Rome)

In the last three decades Kant’s cosmopolitanism has come to be recognized, well beyond the limited circle of philosophers, as a powerful and effective instrument to reduce militarized interstate conflicts. However, in the hands of political scientists, cosmopolitan right has been read narrowly, as nothing more than a precondition for economic interdependence. The third ingredient of Kant’s recipe for peace has thus become a reiteration of the tenet ‒ commonplace among liberal thinkers before and after Kant ‒that international trade promotes peace (Doyle 1983a, 2005,Russett and Oneal 2001, Garztke, 2007). This paper argues that this amounts to a rather gross conflation between genus and species. The content of cosmopolitan right extends beyond economic interdependence, to cultural exchange and the construction of a global conscience modeled on the ‘natural rights of man’. Moreover, even the narrow reading is questionable. For it tends to conceive of economic interdependence independently of justice, which makes the theory vulnerable to the circumstances under which international trade may cause conflict rather than peace (Mearsheimer 1992, Uchitel 1993, Pogge 2008). This is surprising if one considers that Kant defends the pacific potential of trade in the same context in which he severely criticizes ‘the commercial states’ and their ‘trading companies’ (the multinationals of his time) for the injustice of their business affairs. The paper concludesby proposing a wider reading of cosmopolitan right intended to express its full potential for peace.

Contestatory Cosmopolitan Citizenship

Kostas Koukouzelis (Crete)

Moral cosmopolitanism sees cosmopolitanism’s core idea the equal moral value of every human being. Taken in this sense, it is doubtful whether, as a notion, cosmopolitanismadds anything to moral universalism as such. Political cosmopolitanism sees cosmopolitanism’s basic idea as human being’s having a certain (political) status, that is, certain capabilities, which normatively correspond to a certain kind of freedom. This paper’s argument argues that such a freedom should be conceived as non-domination and involves the power of contestation, an intrinsic element of modern republican citizenship in a democratic regime which should also be part of cosmopolitan citizenship.

The first part of the paper will argue that enjoying freedom as non-domination involves having the power to contest laws and policies on an equal footing with others. This is part of the editorial dimension of democracy, which complements the authorial one. The former has to do with equal voice and power as antipower, while the latter has to do with voting. Contestation is exercised in the name of a universal value, that of non-domination, a value that points to inclusion and equal membership and should be exercised in a non-violent way. In the second part, I will attempt to argue that republican contestation refers to what Arendt has named the ‘right to have rights’. Now, in my view, the ‘right to have rights’ points precisely towards cosmopolitan citizenship, because it transcends the domestic, particularistic bias of the political. Such an approach is (a) both normatively robust, since it is based on universal non-domination, and (b) politically feasible, because it involves global institutional structures that enhance the editorial dimension of democracy, or contestation. In contrast, presupposing a collective subject through global legislation that is authorial or electoral democratization at a global level would be both unfeasible and undesirable. Under (a), the claim is that the ‘right to have rights’ has a redistributional aspect. Under (b), the claim is that contestatory cosmopolitan citizenship provides the necessary presuppositions for challenging national sovereignty, and therefore is both desirable and feasible – against to recent attempts (such as David Miller’s) to show that it is not.

Conceptualizing Cosmopolitan Solidarity


In light of contemporary economic crises, a hardening of ethno-religious conflicts andpeoples’ suffering, as well as confrontations of global ideologies, cosmopolitantheories of global politics need to move away from one-sided, idealizing presuppositions about rights, legal frames, rationality, and social relations. Torespond to this challenge and rethink the constructive role of conflict or violence inshaping cosmopolitan theories, this paper proposes a turn to the idea ofcosmopolitan solidarity, which is still undertheorized in the existing literature oncosmopolitanism. Cosmopolitan solidarity rethinks ethical life in the global spherefrom the viewpoint not merely of abstract ideas such as justice or peace, but also of ideas of building on the vision of a society that is bound together by a commitment to opposing exploitation and suffering. It takes conflict and suffering as its pointsof departure, but is not submerged by them and remains committed to cosmopolitanideas and action. This paper addresses the conceptualization of cosmopolitansolidarity.

In the first part, I briefly look at the general account of cosmopolitansolidarity and outline its connection to the political. In the second part, I suggest thatthe conceptualization of cosmopolitan solidarity should stem from and be committedto constructing and upholding a common world. In the third part, I show that cosmopolitan solidarity does not have to be understood only as an enlargement ofour moral imagination or in terms of being encompassed in the institutionalstructures; it can also be constructed from below, through ties of mutuality in thework of public and political practice.

Kantian Theory, Nuclear Weapons, and the Ethics of Coercive Anti-Proliferation

Antonio Franceschet (Calgary)

This paper examines the ethics of permitting and coercively limiting the possession of nuclear weapons by sovereign states. I argue that Immanuel Kant’s (1724-1804) political theory contains important resources in this regard, because it incorporates and surpasses the strengths of rival ethical approaches to nuclear weapons such as Realpolitik, the Just War Tradition, and Deontological Pacifism. Kant’s theory contains a strong presumption against the use of force. However, I also show how coercive anti-proliferation measures are morally legitimated by three possible justifications within Kantian theory. First, international justice necessarily allows for coercion against genuinely aggressive states engaged in nuclear aspiration. Second, Kant anticipates the need for centralized supra-state authority to guarantee a just form of anti-proliferation. Third, he advocates a cosmopolitan justification for sharing the earth’s surface, one that provides a distinctive and timely rationale for anti-proliferation policies in an era of globalization.

The Cosmopolitan Condition, Discourse Ethics, and Migrant Women: Rethinking Constitutional Patriotism


‘A political civic identity, without which Europe cannot acquire the capacity to act independently, can only evolve within a transnational public space.’ (Habermas)

For more than a decade, JürgenHabermas has diagnosed the conflict, or what he terms the ‘state of nature’, between nation-states as the outcome of abandoning international law against war. As a remedy, he proposes Immanuel Kant’s cosmopolitan condition, with its vision of peace in an interconnected world and responsibility to individuals. However, claiming that Kant’s world republic proposal falls into the trap of authoritarianism, Habermas argues for an international law based on deliberative democracy, discerning Kant’s core vision in international law that proscribes war and guarantees civic freedoms to individuals in transnational domains. Accordingly, the law itself – at local, national and transnational levels – is an ongoing project of public deliberation. For Habermas, such validation and institutionalization can take place through the transnational mobilization of local and national public spheres by media and non-governmental organizations. He argues that, rather than shared history, politics and culture, such publics be bound through constitutional patriotism. Yet Habermas’ juridical emphasis becomes suspect in an era characterized by increasing vulnerabilities of migrancy, which are mostly borne by women who confront structural obstacles at the levels of economic production and cultural reproduction.

This paper examines Habermas’ reconstruction of Kant’s cosmopolitanism as constitutional patriotism. It argues that despite its strengths of decentering administrative and governmental authority, it remains rooted in the national public and the law. Moreover, constitutional patriotism’s ruptured links to discourse ethics make it immune and even antithetical to some of the challenges confronting migrant women. In conclusion, the paper addresses alternative, less legalistic ways of engaging with the spirit of Kant’s cosmopolitan principles from migrant women’s perspectives.