COSMOPOLITANISM: What Does It Mean to be a Citizen of the World? – Oct 24

Just a final reminder — no changes in the arrangements:


What Does It Mean to be a Citizen of the World?

Socratic Conversation with Ron Gross

Thursday, 10/24, 4-5:15pm
(United Nations Day)

Gottesman Library, 525 West 120th St., Room 104b
(inside Library, way in the back — NOT on 2nd floor as usual)


There will be a display of relevant books.
Light refreshments will be available. Coffee is available for purchase in the Cafe as you enter the building
Please be sure to bring a photo ID for entrance to the building.

What Does It Mean to be a “Citizen of the World”…

* Morally,

* Economically,

* Politically,

* Culturally/Artistically

* Ecologically

* Linguistically, and….

* _______________?!

Increasingly, we are tending to think of ourselves and our circumstances in global terms. The outlook is driven by emergent political/technological conditions, such as:

  • the perils to the planet as a whole,
  • telecommunications and the Internet,
  • global institutions such as agencies of the UN, WTO, and transnational corporations (“Globalization”),
  • the revelations of genetic biology about our shared humanity,
  • the interpenetration of nationalities, ethnicities, languages, and the arts (Multi-culturalism),
  • internationalization of our languages with borrowings from one to another (“blog”, etc.)
  • trans-cultural ways of thinking, planning, and problem-solving such as Design Thinking and Comprehensive Design

But this outlook has deep philosophical roots -from the 5th century Greek Stoics, through universalist ambitions of the great monotheistic religions, to philosophers like Immanuel Kant, and in our day Levinas, Derrida, and Appiah. As Socrates declared famously: “I am a proud citizen of Athens, and a determined defender of Hellas – but I am also a citizen of the world.”

Cosmopolitanism is the classic term for the conviction or ideal that all human ethnic groups belong to a single community based on a shared morality, economic relationship, or political structure. We’ll explore the ways in which each of US thinks of himself or herself in Cosmopolitan terms, the forces that are strengthening this outlook, and the benefits and perils (Will Globalization eat your job?).

Suggested readings (optional): The Teacher and the World: A Study of Cosmopolitanism as Education, David Hansen (Routledge, 2011); Cosmopolitanism, Kwame Appiah (Norton, 2006)

Next conversation: Thursday, 11/7, Topic to be announced.

Inspired by Socrates’ famous conversations with his friends in the marketplace of 5th century Athens, we engage in spirited discussions of ideas and issues. Socratic conversations range broadly and probe deeply into the basic challenges of life. They are informed by the latest literature for reference and follow up. While building a sense of community on campus, these meetings enliven the intellectual atmosphere and model dialogue and discussion as modes of inquiry. They are part of a year long series of Socratic Conversations hosted by the Gottesman Libraries.

These highly-participatory conversations are moderated by Ronald Gross, author of Socrates’ Way and Co-chair of the University Seminar on Innovation in Education.

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