Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2008


Rousseau's repeated criticisms of the Enlightenment's ideal of cosmopolitanism has led to his thought being characterized as 'anticosmopolitan'. His work abounds in denunciations of the ideals of equality of treatment and universal rights supported by his contemporaries. Moreover, his liking of solitude, introspection and socialization in small circles and his preference for patriotism over equity among all men seem to set him up as the counterpoint of the universalism his contemporaries defended. However, a deeper insight into the work of the author of The Reveries of the Solitary Walker shows that, far from being incompatible with true cosmopolitanism, the moral principles that Rousseau praised are the proper conditions to develop humanitarianism, leading to universalism – in fact a form of cosmopolitanism.


This work was originally published in Daedalus.



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