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Über dieses Buch

This book makes a case for rights and responsibilities to be expressed through a cosmopolitan praxis based on developing strong cosmopolitan approaches. This developed approach respects a form of cultural or national identity that is not at the expense of others, the environment or future generations. This new stoicism is based on a sense of responsibility for others. The book also explores systemic ethical praxis in response to the vexed challenge of how to bridge the false dualism of pitting the environment versus profit. Systemic Ethics and Non-Anthropocentric Stewardship: Implications for Transdisciplinarity and Cosmopolitan Politics is organized into seven chapters. The book begins by providing readers with an understanding of the way in which cosmopolitanism (like all social concepts) is shaped by diverse definitions and applied differently by theorists and those that engage in transformative praxis. It also develops an argument based on considering the empirical consequences of social, economic and environmental decisions on the quality of life of current and future generations. The next chapter critiques anthropocentricism and explores how policy makers develop agreements on what constitutes and supports the wellbeing of the planet rather than the GDP. The book then explores the options for social democracy and ways to enhance an ethical approach to post national governance and argues for participatory democracy and governance to respond to diversity within and across national boundaries. The following chapters reflect upon the author’s own participatory action research process and examines the transformations that can arise through critical systemic thinking and practice. Next the book makes the case for systemic ethical governance that is able to manage consumption, before concluding with a final look at the book’s approach, based on critical heuristics.



1. Cosmopolitan Politics

Making a Case for Systemic Praxis
Entangled social, economic and environmental challenges posed by food, energy and water shortages require a revision of compartmentalist or containerist approaches limited to the nation state and informed by failed enlightenment agendas.
Janet McIntyre-Mills

2. Critiquing Anthropocentricism

Implications for Rights and Responsibility for Others
The chapter is focused on exploring the following:
  • How can policymakers develop agreement on (a) what constitutes and (b) supports wellbeing of the planet, rather than the gross domestic product of a nation state (Stiglitz, Sen and Fitoussi 2010?) The cosmopolitan approach developed in this book draws on the liberative potential within the philosophy of Indigenous First Nations. It is based on the idea that as human beings we have the right and the responsibility to care for the land on which we all depend equally by virtue of our humanity. But we also have the responsibility to care for those who are not part of our immediate human family. Stoicism along with Indigenous philosophy needs to receive more attention while conceptualizing a strong form of cosmopolitanism that respects a form of cultural or national identity that is not at the expense of others (including sentient beings), the environment or future generations.
  • It discusses thinking and practice to test out ‘technologies of humility’ (Jasonoff, S. 2003). It suggests the potential for a hybrid bricolage of laws and praxis to enable the transformation of our designs for living to support biospheres. Biospheres need to be understood as oceans, rivers, the air we breathe, the earth that supports the food chain and the universe of which we are a part. In other words, this reframed definition extends beyond the original definitions of that which was outside the boundaries of a nation state. Instead, it locates nation states within the regional biosphere which sustains them. Caretaking needs to be rooted in many kinds of knowledge, in order to:
    • Decentre anthropocentricism and
    • Address the convergent social, cultural and economic crisis.
  • The challenge is to promote an ever-extending or widening circle of solidarity in order to care for the next generation of life. It also requires the creation of new global narratives arising out of a cross-pollination of spiritual ideas from a range of religious and spiritual practices. This appreciation of narratives could inform discursive engagement to help establish ethical processes to support wellbeing at a post-national level. This requires discursive engagement as well as participatory governance to enable accountability and whistleblowing on the misuse of power or resources.
Janet McIntyre-Mills

3. Beyond State Containerism

Implications for Containing Capitalism and Protecting the Environment
The chapter explores the options for social democracy and ways to enhance an ethical approach to post-national governance. It argues for enfranchising the voiceless and acting as stewards for future generations. The chapter attempts to develop a coherent argument for participatory democracy and governance to respond to diversity within and across national boundaries. Cosmopolitan praxis on democratic rights and responsibilities is discussed. We need to understand evolution and consciousness and design. Evolution includes both competition and collaboration as survival options that enable adaptation to the environment.
Janet McIntyre-Mills

4. Extending Our Horizons

Implications for Transdisciplinarity, Democracy, Governance and Ethics
As the environments which frame universities and the experiences and interests of our graduates change (Beck 2005), we will need to develop social, economic and environmental praxis that recognises and responds to our vulnerability to complex challenges. For this to occur, we need to be able to address sustainability in terms of being, doing, having and interacting.
Janet McIntyre-Mills

5. Remembering, Reconnecting and Redirecting the Gaze

West Churchman stressed that the systems approach begins when ‘first we try to see the world through the eyes of another’, but also when we realize that the system is not ‘out there’ it is viewed through the lenses of the ‘enemies within’, namely ‘religion, morality, politics and aesthetics’. The first step in the journey of being the change is trying to hold the mirror up to one’s own life.
Janet McIntyre-Mills

6. Systemic Ethics for Social and Environmental Justice

Gandhi opposed the might of British colonialism in India through the simple act of enabling people to spin their own cloth and thus by avoid the high costs associated with purchasing cloth that they had already grown themselves. Then he developed mass resistance through the elegant choice of boycotting the salt tax as a way to ensure that profit could be extracted.
Janet McIntyre-Mills

7. Conclusion

The tension between ‘the fox and the hedgehog’ remains (to draw on Berlin, 1959). The wily fox is pragmatic and learns from experience. The hedgehog defends itself according to a single tactic and one grand theory about the world. I tend to steer away from hedgehog approaches and try to remain open to experiences.
Janet McIntyre-Mills


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