Introduction: the boundary of our nation can be measured only by the sun: cosmopolitanism and humanity

OURS IS an age of globalization in which our nation is not only the country in which we are born, grow up, and live, but also the entire earth itself; in which “each of us dwells, in effect, in two communities — the local community of our birth, and the community of human argument and aspiration that ‘is truly great and truly common, in which we look neither to this corner nor to that, but measure the boundaries of our nation by the sun’” (Nussbaum, 1997, 6). It is one in which, in Kant’s words, “The peoples of the earth has thus entered in varying degrees into a universal community, and it has developed to the point where a violation of rights in one part of the earth is felt all over it [the earth]” (Kant, 1972, 142). Ours is an age in which concepts such as basic human rights and crimes against humanity are among those that express most characteristically the spirit of the time. In short, ours is an age of cosmopolitanism. The ideal of cosmopolitanism is that the time will dawn when “the first form of moral affiliation for the citizen should be her affiliation with rational humanity” (Nussbaum,1997, 5); an important legal norm on the earth is the norm of humanity. Cosmopolitanism affirms the Kantian motto: out of the crooked timber of humanity, nothing straight can be built. It rekindles the light of the Confucian ideal of Tian Xia Gui Ren (天下歸仁)—that is, the world will be united by the norm of humanity.


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