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Philosophy Today

Volume 63, Issue 2, Spring 2019

Xunwu Chen
Pages 363-382

Beyond Kant’s Political Cosmopolitanism
Thinking a World Constitution without a World State

Kant bequeaths to the present discourse of cosmopolitanism the question of how a constitutionalized global order without a world state is possible. At the core of the matter is what a legitimate public authority as the necessary enactor of the cosmopolitan sovereignty is. Habermas’s answer that this is a three-tiered, networked realm of public authority is a plausible one. The key to Habermas’s answer is the concept of a political constitution for a pluralist world. If such a constitution is possible, I believe that we need a new concept of constitution as a body politic of norms, statute laws, common laws, legal precedents, and international treaties; on this point, we should take the UK constitution as the paradigm and recognize that since the end of World War II, such a body politic of norms, statute laws, common laws, legal precedents, and international treaties of the global human community has been emerging.

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