The relevance of cosmopolitanism for moral education

M.S. Merry, D.J. de Ruyter

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this article we defend a moral conception of cosmopolitanism and its relevance for moral education. Our moral conception of cosmopolitanism presumes that persons possess an inherent dignity in the Kantian sense and therefore they should be recognised as ends-in-themselves. We argue that cosmopolitan ideals can inspire moral educators to awaken and cultivate in their pupils an orientation and inclination to struggle against injustice. Moral cosmopolitanism, in other words, should more explicitly inform the work that moral educators do. Real-world constraints on moral action and the need to prioritise one's sometimes conflicting responsibilities will often qualify cosmopolitan justice as supererogatory. This fact does not absolve persons from aspiring to see themselves as having the moral obligation to help others in need, while recognising that their factual obligations are more modest in being bound by what they are actually able to do. © 2011 Journal of Moral Education Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Moral Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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