The Acorn

Volume 17, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2017

Corey L. Barnes
Pages 5-31

Imperatives of Peace
A Lockean Justification for Cosmopolitan Principles

Cosmopolitanism seems to appeal to liberal neutrality because both are committed to core values such as reciprocity, autonomy, respect for the individual, personal accountability, and inclusivity. Further, cosmopolitanism is legitimate for many only insofar as it endorses value-pluralism in open societies, which is a staple of liberal neutrality. And yet, one might think that there is a moral obligation to create a cosmopolitan community. One can think of this as moral (normative) cosmopolitanism. To the end of creating a cosmopolitan community, certain values ought to be fostered in laws and public policies, and certain attitudes ought to be cultivated. This leads to a potential impasse, namely if cosmopolitanism is committed to neutrality then it cannot promote its normativity, and if it is not committed to neutrality then it cannot promote value-pluralism. I propose a solution to this potential impasse by examining several of the democratic and cosmopolitan commitments of Alain Locke. What I take from Locke is his grounding of both pluralism and moral cosmopolitanism in democratic, time-honored principles that exist in all acts of free association, namely: liberty, equality, and fraternity. These values, of necessity, pervade all political conceptions of good lives because all political conceptions require what acts of free association allow, namely community with others. To this end, I provide an argument for how someone can consistently be committed to both moral cosmopolitanism and liberal neutrality.