Ethics of Cosmopolitanism: The Confucian Tradition
Whereas cosmopolitanism—in the tradition of Kant—entailed the noble notion of a common humanity, current trends in world politics have made us aware of another—less noble—side of cosmopolitanism. As Ullrich Beck has pointed out in his book Global Risk Society, through the interdependence of the world and its global threats we have all become cosmopolitans, however not by choice but by force.
The chapter will attempt to look at the possibility of a cosmopolitanism by choice, seen from the perspective of Confucianism as China’s longest and most enduring tradition. Considering that Confucianism is an ethical teaching, it will focus on its potential for a “global ethics”—or for an ethics of cosmopolitanism.