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Situated Cosmopolitanism, And the Conditions of Its Possibility: Transformative Dialogue As a Response to the Challenge of Difference (Report)

Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 2011, July, 7, 2

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Following Kant, cosmopolitan proposals have traditionally been highly universalistic in conception. As such, while they have the merit of highlighting what all peoples share in common, they correspondingly neglect what differentiates diversely situated others. In thus emphasising our common humanity to the extent of neglecting significant national, cultural, or ethnic differences, they unwittingly perpetrate an injustice by negating precisely those factors that confer on diverse groupings their identity. (1) The Habermasian discourse model, centring on a discursive reappropriation of Kant, is a case in point. Nonetheless, as discursively grounded, it embodies distinctive strengths worth preserving. Most notably, following Kant, it empowers us as citizens to be the authors of the laws and policies by which we are governed, while, departing from Kant, it valorises deliberative discourse as the basis for underwriting this possibility in a 'postmetaphysical' era. (2) Moreover, in that it conceives of us, as participants in discourse, as truly global citizens with the potential to transcend cultural and ethnic as well as national boundaries, the Habermasian template is genuinely cosmopolitan. Through its commitment to inclusiveness, it further reinforces its cosmopolitan credentials. But herein lies the rub. In promoting an unqualified universalism as the basis for inclusiveness, the Habermasian discourse model cannot do justice to difference in its concrete particularity. On the contrary, we shall see, it emphasises the homogeneity, uniformity, and hence interchangeability of participant standpoints so heavily that it cannot take account of what differentiates these and renders them distinctive. In thus emphasising the standpoint of the 'generalised other' to the extent of neglecting the standpoint of the 'concrete other', it discounts their specific histories, identities, and life experiences, thereby negating the distinctive contribution that diversely situated others could make to the deliberative process. The present paper contends that a thoroughgoing dialogical reappropriation of the discourse model is needed to enable it to live up to its pluralistic and inclusive intent. Moreover, far from being an external imposition, such a reappropriation serves to liberate the dialogical potential inherent in the deliberative template from the outset but masked by its undue emphasis on homogeneity, uniformity, and consensus. (3)

Situated Cosmopolitanism, And the Conditions of Its Possibility: Transformative Dialogue As a Response to the Challenge of Difference (Report)
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  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Religion & Spirituality
  • Published: 01 July 2011
  • Publisher: Ashton and Rafferty
  • Print Length: 36 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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