Cosmopolitanism, broadly speaking, reflects on ethical, cultural, and political issues from the position that states and political communities are not the exclusive centers of political order or force.
Held begins his article in Brock’s and Brighouse’s The Political Philosophy of Cosmopolitanism by differentiating between cosmopolitanism that shifts from the polis to the cosmos, and the Enlightenment’s cosmopolitan attitude of maturity and reflexivity. The former insists that individuals’ first allegiance is to humanity rather than the community, whereas for the latter cosmopolitan right “meant the capacity to present oneself and be heard within and across political communities; it was the right to enter dialogue without artificial constraint and delimitation” (11).
Held’s article is subsequently divided into four sections. The first identifies cosmopolitan principles, the second distinguishes between ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ cosmopolitanism, the third justifies cosmopolitan claims, and the fourth section sketches how to transition from justifications to law. The ultimate aim is to understand the aim and scope of cosmopolitanism.