Associate Professor Luis Cabrera - Griffith University

How can the cosmopolitan, who espouses universal moral principles and firm duties across national boundaries, avoid a moralizing neo-imperialism, or advocating a problematic new ‘civilizing mission?’ Such questions will be engaged in the context of recent claims that cosmopolitanism, if it is to be consistent with its own normative foundations, is an inherently arrogant approach. It is solipsistically certain in its claims about the global scope of moral concern, and disdainful of any moral claims made for particular attachments. Further, those theorists who seek to incorporate some humility into cosmopolitanism, by making significant accommodation for national attachments, or by advocating ‘global governance without global government,’ offer accounts which ultimately are incoherent. I will seek to show that cosmopolitanism is not necessarily arrogant, and that cosmopolitan humility is not necessarily an oxymoron, including in the context of a strong institutional cosmopolitanism which entails the creation of an integrated global political order. Drawing on recent philosophical and psychological studies, I will argue that humility is appropriately conceived as a virtue focused on epistemic modesty and openness to input from others as dialogic equals. As such, it intersects fundamentally with institutional cosmopolitan commitments and would inform the advocacy of developing more cosmopolitan regional and global institutions. Some insights are drawn from interviews with Dalit activists in India who themselves have sought to enlist global allies and use global human rights institutions to promote more just outcomes domestically.

About School Research Seminar Series

This series brings together the School’s research community and domestic as well as international leaders in the field of politics and international affairs. Across each semester, the series showcases a diverse and exciting range of topics. We welcome anyone who might be interested in attending.

Please note that most of the research seminars are recorded and are available online.