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Confucian Cosmopolitanism

Authors

  • Philip J Ivanhoe


  • This work was supported by a grant from The Academy of Korean Studies funded by the Korean Government (MEST) (AKS-2011-AAA-2102).

Philip J. Ivanhoe, Department of Public Policy, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, pivanhoe@cityu.edu.hk.

Abstract

Scholars in the humanities and social sciences are keenly aware of and often deeply engaged with more global or cosmopolitan approaches to their respective fields; nevertheless, theories of cosmopolitanism remain exceedingly controversial and arise exclusively from Western philosophical sources. Recently, Martha Nussbaum presented a contemporary Western liberal cosmopolitan theory and sought to integrate it with a call for multicultural education. In this essay, I describe, analyze, and criticize Nussbaum's conception of cosmopolitanism and argue that it does not sit comfortably with her laudable advocacy of multicultural education. I then draw upon resources within the Confucian tradition to sketch two alternative conceptions of cosmopolitanism, which I argue are both more powerful than what Nussbaum proposes and better support the kind of multicultural education she so eloquently advocates.

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