Cosmopolitanism Online: A manual for the construction of a virtual cosmopolis.

Edward Spence, Adam Briggle

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter


The chapter will in addition address one of the major conceptual and practical problems for cosmopolitanism'especially with regard to its global scope'that of the problem of practical motivation. Finally, and building on the notion of cosmopolitan friendship, the chapter seeks to show that, notwithstanding the very real geopolitical divisions and cultural conflicts in the world at present that render the building of a real Cosmopolis a utopian dream, such a cosmopolis can be built in a virtual world. The notion of Stoic oikeiosis is adapted in demonstrating how the essential conditions and foundations can be laid down in designing and building, if not a real Cosmopolis, at least an actual Virtual Cosmopolis in a virtual world such as Second Life. In short, the chapter seeks to offer a theoretical and practical manual for designing and building a Virtual Cosmopolis based on the dual notions of online cosmopolitan-friendship and oikeiosis.The primary objective of this chapter is to set out the essential theoretical and practical conditions essential for the construction of a Virtual Cosmopolis in a virtual world such as Second Life on the basis of the principle of Stoic Cosmopolitanism. For the Stoics the polis was the cosmopolis, not Aristotle's city-state but the whole Cosmos. Since, the Stoics perceived human beings and everything else within the Cosmos as being essentially interrelated and part of a single integrated and all rational divine Universe or Cosmos'one in which everything that exists is inherently and necessarily interconnected ' each human being is of natural necessity a citizen of the cosmos, a cosmopolitan. And this is so, regardless of the cosmopolitans' individual differentiating characteristics and affiliations concerning gender, race, nationality, religion, family and culture. A Virtual Cosmopolis then is to be understood as a cosmopolitan world built, or more precisely one that can in principle be built, within a virtual environment such as that of Second Life. The chapter seeks to articulate the concept of Global Cosmopolitanism in terms of a model of Global Ethics and assess its potential for mitigating intercommunal conflict. Given widespread access and its inherently bordertranscending nature, the Internet is an ideal medium for the cultivation of cosmopolitanism on a global scale. Thus, this part of the chapter is designed to analyze the potential of the Internet to overcome communication gaps and foster a cosmopolitan ethical identity that transcends state and national boundaries.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmerging Ethical Issues of Life in Virtual Worlds
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherInformation Age Publishing
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781607523772
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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