2020-02Discussion Papers, Comments, Book Reviews
Animal Polis, or, Why Ethics Cannot Rule Politics


/Review: Martha Nussbaum, The Cosmopolitan Tradition: A Noble but Flawed Ideal (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2019), 310 pages./

For decades Martha Nussbaum allied herself whole-heartedly with cosmopolitanism. No longer. She appealed at length to the righteousness of Stoic cosmopolitanism in past publications such as Cultivating Humanity in 1997. Now, according to The Cosmopolitan Tradition, that founding ideal cannot be right. She presently advocates what may be called “ethical nationalism” since no system of political internationalism could be good enough. A reassessment of cosmopolitanism by this unimpeachable expert must be considered carefully. Despite saying that “cosmopolitanism” is a term “too vague to be useful,” her chapters are replete with tenets taken as essential to this tradition that she must reluctantly abandon. To reach higher for social justice, ethical nations should “Brexit” from frail international systems still failing the multitudes. Rights are global, but enforcement is local.

How to cite:

Shook, John R. “Animal Polis, or, Why Ethics Cannot Rule Politics.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 4, no. 2 (2020):  162-165. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2020.0024.


John R. Shook
School of Continuing Studies, Georgetown University
640 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA

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