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Dimensions of Contemporary Confucian Cosmopolitanism


  • Acknowledgments: This essay was written entirely by me and only for this publication, with no prior publications or presentations.

ROBERT CUMMINGS NEVILLE, Professor, Department of Philosophy and Department of Theology, Boston University. Specialties: metaphysics, philosophy of religion, Confucianism. E-mail:


This paper identifies five dimensions of cosmopolitanism, though doubtless there are many more: cosmopolitanism in decision making, engaging others, attaining personal wholeness, the ultimate value-identity of life, and religious sensibility. These are discussed in terms of the Confucian ideas of the “Four Beginnings,” ritual, life as cultivated education, sagehood, public versus private life, Principle, heart-mind, harmony, value, humaneness, “love with differences,” “roots and branches,” and filiality, among others. In all, it presents Confucianism as a living tradition that is facing up to how it might extend itself in light of the need for cosmopolitanism.