Qualifying Cosmopolitanism? Solidarity, Criticism, and Michael Walzer's 'View from the Cave'

Toni Erskine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


For some, cosmopolitanism is a deeply troubling, even dangerous, ethical position. An 'embedded cosmopolitan' variation on this position would strive to take seriously the apprehensions of these critics by eschewing the impartialist perspective to which it is conventionally tied. Specifically, this proposed alternative would adopt a modified version of the particularist moral starting point espoused by so-called 'communitarian' political theorists. In order to retain its ethical cosmopolitan credentials, such a stance would have to achieve a moral purview that left no-one, whether compatriot or foreigner, ally or enemy, beyond either concern or comprehension. Trying to construct this qualified cosmopolitanism is a difficult and daunting task. By analysing the various attempts of the American political philosopher Michael Walzer to reconcile a radically situated account of morality (his 'view from the cave') with an inclusive and cross-culturally critical moral purview, this article aims to map the most promising route towards an embedded cosmopolitan position. At the same time, it endeavours to pay due attention to a much broader range of Walzer's writings than is generally acknowledged within the study of international relations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-149
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Politics
Publication statusPublished - 2007


Dive into the research topics of 'Qualifying Cosmopolitanism? Solidarity, Criticism, and Michael Walzer's 'View from the Cave''. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this