The Historical Controversy

Lea Ypi

in Global Justice and Avant-Garde Political Agency

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199593873
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731426 | DOI:
The Historical Controversy

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This chapter explores the historical sources of the controversy between statists and cosmopolitans as a way of introducing some core issues relevant to the rest of the book. It brings into sharper focus the necessity to distinguish issues of normative principle and issues of political agency and it associates an ‘activist’ conception of cosmopolitanism to the writings of Kant. Here the defence of the state at the level of agency supplements the defence of cosmopolitanism at the level of principle. Informed by a way of reading historical developments (dubbed as ‘dialectical’) and a particular account of political agency (defined as ‘avant-garde’ political agency), the chapter endorses a view of global justice that emphasizes the heuristic role of conflict and improves on its rivals both with regard to problem diagnosis and to its capacity to guide political transformation.

Keywords: cosmopolitanism; patriotism; state; Enlightenment; history; Rousseau; Kant; dialectic; conflict

Chapter.  11135 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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