Cosmopolitanism comes from the ancient Greek “cosmos,” meaning world, and “polites,” meaning citizen; cosmopolitanism is the condition of being a citizen of the world. The question of how exactly one becomes and acts as a citizen of the world has been asked by numerous scholars from Immanuel Kant to Anthony Kwame Appiah. To Kant, cosmopolitanism was a universal moralism, a set of rights which incorporates all people into a single moral community and was rooted in Enlightenment philosophy and law. Appiah, who has published the most cited recent book on the subject, suggests that cosmopolitanism is universality with particularity. To be cosmopolitan means to act ethically in local circumstances that are understood to be part of an overarching moral community.

[key terms]