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A Cartography of Cosmopolitanism: Particularising the Universal

Jason Rudall

Keywords: Cosmopolitanism; philosophy of law; history

The present assumed understandings of cosmopolitanism can lead legal scholars to misinterpret what is entailed by a given cosmopolitan claim and result in their talking at cross-purposes. This article is a call to refine what we mean by cosmopolitanism and to develop an understanding that is fit for purpose. It will attempt to categorise the major strands of cosmopolitan understanding, from institutional and political cosmopolitanism to moral and legal cosmopolitanism, amongst others. With the distinctions between these understandings of cosmopolitanism exposed, legal scholars may be better equipped to speak more precisely about the form of legal cosmopolitanism they are advocating or rejecting. Indeed, charting the topography and destination of these major strands may also serve to rebut the counter-narratives of the cosmopolitan critics, such as Koskenniemi, who suggest that cosmopolitanism can be used as a ‘façade for particular interests’. Cosmopolitanism can no longer be all things to all people.

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