Despite cosmopolitanism's concern for the world's poor and its concomitant heavy moral demands, cosmopolitans establish a limit to the self's responsibility for the global poor. This contrasts with Emmanuel Levinas's view that the self has an infinite responsibility for the other, a responsibility that derives from the self's questioning of the impact of his freedom on others. From a Levinasian perspective, cosmopolitanism's restriction of the self's responsibility for others creates a sphere of rightful indifference to the needs of the other; lends legitimacy to a disregard of the other; forestalls an ethical awakening to the other; constrains the achievement of a more just global order, given that, from a Levinasian perspective, a better justice is built on the self's open-ended responsibility for the other; and points to a tension at the heart of cosmopolitanism, considering the coexistence of elements that both frustrate and aspire to the achievement of global justice. It is concluded that the achievement of cosmopolitanism's goals would require the acceptance of an open-ended responsibility for the other.
Levinas, cosmopolitanism, responsibility, otherness, global poor
Ethics and Political Philosophy | Philosophy
JORDAAN, Eduard.(2009). Cosmopolitanism, freedom and indifference: A Levinasian view. Alternatives, 34(1), 83-106.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soss_research/870
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