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Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (Issues of Our Time)

 
 
 
 
Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (Issues of Our Time)
Author: Kwame Anthony Appiah
ISBN 13: 9780393329339
ISBN 10: 39332933
Edition: Reprint
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: 2007-02-17
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
List Price: $15.95
 
 

“A brilliant and humane philosophy for our confused age.”—Samantha Power, author of A Problem from Hell

The New Yorker

Appiah, a Princeton philosophy professor, articulates a precise yet flexible ethical manifesto for a world characterized by heretofore unthinkable interconnection but riven by escalating fractiousness. Drawing on his Ghanaian roots and on examples from philosophy and literature, he attempts to steer a course between the extremes of liberal universalism, with its tendency to impose our values on others, and cultural relativism, with its implicit conviction that gulfs in understanding cannot be bridged. Cosmopolitanism, in Appiah’s formulation, balances our “obligations to others” with the “value not just of human life but of particular human lives”—what he calls “universality plus difference.” Appiah remains skeptical of simple maxims for ethical behavior—like the Golden Rule, whose failings as a moral precept he swiftly demonstrates—and argues that cosmopolitanism is the name not “of the solution but of the challenge.”