Is Dante a cosmopolitan?
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This article attempts to answer the question ‘Is Dante a Cosmopolitan?’ or, more specifically, ‘Does Dante’s advocacy for a world empire in Monarchia constitute a cosmopolitan theory of politics?’ Cosmopolitanism grew out of fifth-century B.C.E. Greece and has gained increasing traction among both moral philosophers and political scientists in recent decades. Contemporary scholars, particularly in the field of international relations theory, often list Dante as an early advocate for global governance. Dante is offered as a stepping stone between the cosmopolitans of the ancient world and Kantian liberals. Yet none of these scholars have really explored how well Monarchia fits into this tradition. This paper examines the text of Dante’s Monarchia in light of cosmopolitan political theory. It finds that, while Dante does share some key concerns with modern cosmopolitan thinkers, he ultimately fails to provide a model (even a primitive one) of cosmopolitan ethics or cosmopolitan government.
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