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Cosmopolis 2c.jpg

Editor's note: Most definitions of cosmopolis refer to what is effectively a large metropolis, and though there may be a handful of 'great' cities in this world, including their 'universities', none even remotely qualify as a 'universe city' let alone a universal city. Nevertheless, this does not preclude cultivating an appreciation for a history of this idea that is served well by Stephen Toulmin's book, Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity ISBN 0226808386 (see also An Intellectual Odyssey [1])






[ad. mod.L. cosmologia, a. Gr. type * world + discourse. Cf. F. cosmologie.]

The science or theory of the universe as an ordered whole, and of the general laws which govern it. Also, a particular account or system of the universe and its laws. 1656 BLOUNT Glossogr., Cosmology, a speaking of the world. 1735 B. MARTIN Philos. Gram. 101 By Cosmology is implied a philosophical or physiological Discourse of the World, or Universe in general. 1802 PLAYFAIR Illustr. Hutton. Th. 132 In the cosmologies..of Leibnitz and Buffon, fire and water are both employed. 1876 GLADSTONE Homeric Synchr. 221 It throws..a most important light on Homer's cosmology.

b. Philos. That branch of metaphysics which deals with the idea of the world as a totality of all phenomena in space and time. 1753 CHAMBERS Cycl. Supp., Cosmology, the science of the world in general. This Wolfius calls general, or transcendental cosmology. 1867 J. H. STIRLING Schwegler's Hist. Philos. (ed. 8) 205 Metaphysics..are subdivided [by Wolff] into Ontology, Cosmology, Psychology, Natural Theology. 1874 W. WALLACE Hegel's Logic 58 The third branch of Metaphysics was Cosmology. The topics it embraced were the world, its contingency, necessity, eternity, limitation in time and space, etc. 1889 CAIRD Kant II. 39 Rational Cosmology deals with the idea of the world as a totality of phenomena in one time and space. [2]


  1. having worldwide rather than limited or provincial scope or bearing
  2. having wide international sophistication : worldly 3 : composed of persons, constituents, or elements from all or many parts of the world 4 : found in most parts of the world and under varied ecological conditions




Middle English, from Late Latin metropolitanus of the see of a metropolitan, from metropolita, noun, metropolitan, from Late Greek mētropolitēs, from mētropolis see of a metropolitan, from Greek, capital


15th century