Borders, Cosmopolitanism and Cosmopolitan Friendship in Stoicism

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The goal of this paper is to explore the relevance of Stoic cosmopolitanism (and particularly of its emotional dimension) for the question of immigration. The fact that Stoic cosmopolitanism is not only linked to reason, justice and duties (as much of modern and contemporary forms of cosmopolitanism), but it also involves an emotional component (namely, a form of cosmopolitan friendship or love) becomes particularly clear in the context of the Stoic theory of appropriation (oikeiōsis). According to Hierocles, one’s relation to others is naturally organized in concentric circles – which means that those that are closest to oneself (particularly one’s family) are the object of greater friendship and care, whereas more distant people (such as fellow citizens, people of the same ethnicity or even the rest of humankind) receive the least affection and care.
In light of this, it is easy to understand the tendency not to care about immigrants or foreigners and to establish strong borders. However, the Stoics argue that the development of rationality allows for a different kind of relation (or appropriation), which recognizes all human beings as equal and, consequently, brings every human being to the central circle. Guided by Martha Nussbaum’s analysis of political emotions and her use of imagination and art, I will briefly explore the possibility of using Stoic thought and its use of cosmopolitan images as a way of developing – both in individuals and societies – not only a form of cosmopolitan friendship, but also a loving tolerance for immigrants and foreigners.
Period6 Jul 2020
Event title11th Summer-School in Political Philosophy & International Relations: Open Borders, Closed Borders: Europe, Toleration and Immigration
Event typeConference
LocationPortugalShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Friendship
  • Love
  • Cosmopolitan imagination
  • Loving tolerance