Philosophy Today

Volume 68, Issue 1, Winter 2024

Special Topic: On Political Theology

Iwona JanickaOrcid-ID
Pages 129-145

The Janus Face of Cosmopolitics
The Concept of Universality in Isabelle Stengers and Bruno Latour

Scholars in multispecies ethnography, the ontological turn, new materialisms, science and technology studies (STS), assemblage urbanism and other movements within the posthumanities broadly considered often treat cosmopolitics, initially proposed by Isabelle Stengers and subsequently taken up by Bruno Latour, as a single coherent concept. However, Stengers’s cosmopolitics differs considerably from Latour’s. The difference is most clearly visible in their contrasting positions on the concept of universality. Even though their divergence on universality could be considered a minor philosophical dispute among intellectual allies, it should not be underestimated. It determines what sort of political practice each of these philosophers envisions with cosmopolitics. Their visions of political practice are substantially different. This article will examine Latour’s and Stengers’s diverging positions on universality, delineate the two types of cosmopolitics, and, finally, analyze what sort of political practice each of these cosmopolitics implies.