Patriotism, Nationalism, and the Motivational Critique of Cosmopolitanism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter offers a critical examination of the motivational critique of cosmopolitanism. While the objection that cosmopolitanism is motivationally deficient is common in defenses of patriotism and compatriot partiality, this chapter argues that it is often ambiguous, as it conflates three analytically distinct arguments. It then offers a framework with which to analyze each version of the motivational critique separately, distinguishing between the meta-normative, the ethical, and the political. Meta-normative arguments focus on the limits of human nature and motivational capacities; ethical arguments focus on the demandingness of moral requirements; and political arguments focus on the stability preconditions of social justice institutions. Demonstrating the flaws in the first two versions, it is argued that only the latter is plausible as a critique of cosmopolitanism: cosmopolitans have yet to explain what will maintain institutional stability, while the leading solutions to the problem of stability – liberalism, nationalism, and republicanism – all have anticosmopolitan implications. The chapter concludes by considering the implications of this analysis for cosmopolitans and their critics.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Patriotism
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783319544847
ISBN (Print)9783319544830
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020.


  • Compatriot favoritism
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Demandingness
  • Motivation
  • Nationalism
  • Ought implies can
  • Patriotism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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