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A Cosmopolitical Proposal: Towards a Democratic Composition of Environments
Unformatted Document Text:  8 However, as ambitious as these cosmopolitanisms are in their efforts to grant all humans access to a universal political community based on certain shared qualities, these cosmopolitan visions have fallen short, not only of their goal of inclusive citizenship, but in their attempts to find this preexisting commonality that can be tapped into as potential for a universal human political community. It is not that they have not found the “correct” shared quality among humans, nor that they are going about it the wrong way. Rather, the search itself, the hunt for this universal characteristic, fails to take into account the practices involved in producing the shared characteristics as constant and universal, whether in the form of biological existence, psychological hardware, or linguistic practices. Nature, language, reason, etc., are assumed to preexist their political instantiation without mediation and, for that reason, are assumed to transcend any parochial differences that could divide humanity. For this cosmopolitan vision to be realized, all that is necessary is to actualize the potential of a shared quality of natural endowment, to build upon our underlying commonality. Such a common substrate must exist for cosmopolitan thinkers, believing it is present as potential, but has been distorted by numerous political and cultural practices that need only be worked beyond and rationally argued against for a politics based on universal nature to be realized. Questioning these assumptions, Bruno Latour takes the recent work of Ulrich Beck and his cosmopolitan vision to task for what Latour describes as an anthropological blindness. For sociology [and other thinkers of cosmopolitanism in this vein], nature, the world, the cosmos, are simply there. … What [Beck] doesn’t realize is that what cosmopolitanism attempts, from Alexandria to the United States, can only be effective during a period of absolute confidence in the capacities of reason, and even more so in science to determine with certainty the unique existing cosmos at the base of the world-city to which we all aspire to be citizens. The problem that we come up against now is precisely the disappearance of this “unique cosmos,” what I call mononaturalism. It’s impossible for us to inherit this magnificent idea of cosmopolitanism, since we lack what our prestigious ancestors possessed: a cosmos. Starting from this, we have to choose, I think, between cosmopolitanism and cosmopolitics. 15 15 Lolive and Soubeyran, 73.

Authors: Nordquist, Michael.
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8
However, as ambitious as these cosmopolitanisms are in their efforts to grant all humans
access to a universal political community based on certain shared qualities, these cosmopolitan
visions have fallen short, not only of their goal of inclusive citizenship, but in their attempts to
find this preexisting commonality that can be tapped into as potential for a universal human
political community. It is not that they have not found the “correct” shared quality among
humans, nor that they are going about it the wrong way. Rather, the search itself, the hunt for
this universal characteristic, fails to take into account the practices involved in producing the
shared characteristics as constant and universal, whether in the form of biological existence,
psychological hardware, or linguistic practices. Nature, language, reason, etc., are assumed to
preexist their political instantiation without mediation and, for that reason, are assumed to
transcend any parochial differences that could divide humanity. For this cosmopolitan vision to
be realized, all that is necessary is to actualize the potential of a shared quality of natural
endowment, to build upon our underlying commonality. Such a common substrate must exist for
cosmopolitan thinkers, believing it is present as potential, but has been distorted by numerous
political and cultural practices that need only be worked beyond and rationally argued against for
a politics based on universal nature to be realized. Questioning these assumptions, Bruno Latour
takes the recent work of Ulrich Beck and his cosmopolitan vision to task for what Latour
describes as an
anthropological blindness. For sociology [and other thinkers of cosmopolitanism in this
vein], nature, the world, the cosmos, are simply there. … What [Beck] doesn’t realize is
that what cosmopolitanism attempts, from Alexandria to the United States, can only be
effective during a period of absolute confidence in the capacities of reason, and even
more so in science to determine with certainty the unique existing cosmos at the base of
the world-city to which we all aspire to be citizens. The problem that we come up against
now is precisely the disappearance of this “unique cosmos,” what I call mononaturalism.
It’s impossible for us to inherit this magnificent idea of cosmopolitanism, since we lack
what our prestigious ancestors possessed: a cosmos. Starting from this, we have to
choose, I think, between cosmopolitanism and cosmopolitics.
15
Lolive and Soubeyran, 73.


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