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Law Class, Fall 1999

Lecture Notes on Exercise 12: Local vs. Cosmopolitan

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: October 23, 1999
E-Mail Curran or Takata.

Exercise12: Local vs. Cosmopolitan

  1. We have spoken of the postmodern position which sees the Enlightenment as carrying with it the undoing of the civilized knowledge of which the Enlightenment dreamed. We spoke of the need to preserve the local, the unique, the different against the universal. Can you see a correspondence here between the local and the cosmopolitan?

    I can imagine a correspondence between the universal and the cosmopolitan, and between the local and the rural or small town locale. Sophistication, meaning less willingness to believe what one is told, less willingness to limit oneself, tends to go more with the city, the cosmopolitan, the universal worldview. The need we now sense to preserve the local, the unique, the different, suggests that we are no longer so sure the cosmopolitan is "better" than the local. Back to the tension Habermas describes.

  2. Which has the more limited overview? The local or the cosmopolitan?

    The local has the more limited overview, but it may also have the more differentiated approach, the more unique perceptiion. Postmodernists often argue that it is precisely that unique local, differentiated approach that gives us creativity.

  3. Which is more likely to believe knowledge absolute when supported by authority? The local or the cosmopolitan? Why?

    The local has far less experience with encountering the alien, the foreign, thus is far more likely to believe that the world is as she sees it.

  4. Which is more likely to question critically? The local or the cosmopolitan?

    The cosmopolitan is more likely to question critically, for her experience is more likely to have given her the opportunity to see that things are not always as we expect. thus, she may be more willling to question, knowing that there can be different answers.