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Split Modernity: Elements for a Cosmopolitan Theory in Stephen Toulmin’s Cosmopolis


Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj Napoca


Developed in the comprehensive form of a theory of rationality, Stephen Toulmin’s work brings forth a series of elements situated at the intersection of the history and theory of science with the history of ideas. Understood in this way, Toulmin’s books display a marked critical spirit, a capacity for synthesis and narrative passion. His endeavour as such is both risky and bold at the same time: risky, because such a historicist approach is more often than not subject to a certain type of perspectivism that allows the narrative discourse to develop according to specific intellectual stakes; bold, as his work opens up the possibility for the re-evaluations and reconsiderations that are peculiar to this type of approach which has had a long history in the academia. The present article unpacks cosmopolitan theory starting from the critique that Toulmin directs at modernity, foregrounding the fact that a cosmopolitan theory is primarily developed as a solution that is more effective than idealistic when it comes to overcoming a specific crisis of modernity.

Keywords: cosmopolitanism, theory of modernity, theory of science, epistemology, rationality, crisis, stability, Stephen Toulmin



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