Caraus, T. The horizon of another world: Foucault’s Cynics and the birth of radical cosmopolitics
(2021) Philosophy and Social Criticism
The ancient Cynic Diogenes was the first to declare ‘I am a citizen of the world (kosmopolitês)’ and the other Cynics followed him. In The Courage of the Truth, Michel Foucault analyses the Cynic mode of parrhēsia and living in truth, however, his text expands the cosmopolitical amplitude of Cynics since the Cynics’ true life contains an inherent cosmopolitan logic. Identifying the core of the Cynic true life in the care for the self that leads to the care for the others within the horizon of the possibility of another life and another world, Foucault shows how the Cynic establishes ‘an intense bond with the whole of humankind’, cares ‘for all mankind’ and for the whole world as a ‘functionary of humanity’ and, as ‘the scout of humanity’, the Cynic prefigures the future and exercises the ‘government of the universe’. This article argues that Foucault’s account on Cynics maps the very first moments of becoming cosmopolitan and offers an insightful perspective on the process of achieving a cosmopolitan subjectivity, a process displayed by different expressions of cosmopolitanism, and especially the ‘insurgent cosmopolitanism’ from the bottom up. © The Author(s) 2021.
cosmopolitanism; Cynics; Foucault; parrhēsia; radical cosmopolitics