Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 24, Issue 3, 2014

Philosophy: In Search for Knowledge and Ways of Life

Panos Eliopoulos
Pages 30-35

The Stoic Cosmopolitanism as a Way of Life

The word cosmopolitanism is derived from “cosmos” (universe) and “polites” (citizen). The cosmopolite is a citizen of the world. The Stoics elaborate on the theme, using the ideas of oikeiosis and sympathy as its basis, thus drawing from their physics. Particularly, Epictetus defends cosmopolitanism on the assumption that man is akin to God, whereas Marcus Aurelius highlights the common possession of mind (νοῦς) and that man is by nature able for communal life. For the Stoics man is a social being who can be perfected only within the society of other human beings. The brotherhood of men is grounded on the indubitable axiom that the human soul is the source of the unique good, which is virtue. The distinctive parameter for creating a community is virtue, which is an objective for everyone but also an inherent and ecumenical capacity.