SAAP Annual Meeting 2013

Papers Proceedings »

Roycean Insurance and Moral Cosmopolitanism

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Daniel Brunson
Morgan State University
United States

Royce’s continual exploration of the conditions for, and the meaning of, communities both provincial and universal place him as philosopher of cosmopolitanism. This is clear both from his characterization of the Universal Community of Interpretation in The Problem of Christianity and from his proposal for an international board of insurance in War and Insurance. However, the relationship between Royce’s various Universal Communities — Beloved, Great, of Interpretation, etc. — is not always clear. This paper proposes one possible site of continuity between Royce’s late work on insurance and his consistent struggle with the problem of evil. Specifically, in his rejection of the moral cosmopolitanism of classical Stoicism, Royce expresses his moral vision as requiring a willing undertaking of another’s sins. This sharing of burdens within a community is at the heart of insurance as a community of interpretation dedicated to the mitigation of risk.


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