Princeton Professor Delivers Presentation on Ethics

Published: March 05, 2010 | Read Time: 2 minutes

Southern Utah University’s Convocation Lecture Series is pleased to announce that Princeton University Professor of Philosophy Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah will be this year’s Grace A. Tanner Distinguished Lecturer.

Dr. Appiah’s presentation titled “Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers” will be held on Tuesday, March 9th at 11:30 AM in the SUU Auditorium. It is free and open to the public.

Called a post-modern Socrates, Dr. Appiah asks profound questions about identity and ethics in a world where the sands of race, ethnicity, religion, and nationalism continue to realign and reform before our eyes.

His seminal book “Cosmopolitanism” is a moral manifesto for a world where identity has become a weapon and where difference has become a cause of pain and suffering. In intellectually stimulating language, Dr. Appiah challenges you to look beyond the boundaries—real and imagined—that divide us, and to see our common humanity.

Dr. Appiah is the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. He was born in London, to a Ghanaian father and a white mother; raised in Ghana; and educated in England at Cambridge University, where he received a Ph.D. in philosophy. As a scholar of African and African-American studies, he established himself as an intellectual with a broad reach. His classic book, “In My Father's House” and his collaborations with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.—including “The Dictionary of Global Culture and Africana”—are major works of African struggles for self-determination. In 2007, “Cosmopolitanism” won the Arthur Ross Book Award, the most significant prize given to a book on international affairs. In 2009, Prof. Appiah was featured in the documentary “Examined Life”, and was named one of Foreign Policy's Top 100 public intellectuals.

In his acerbic lectures, Professor Appiah explores some of the central ethical questions of our time. How is it possible to consider the world a moral community, for instance, when there is so much disagreement about the nature of morality? He offers answers that are grounded in a new ethics (Cosmopolitanism) which celebrates our common humanity, while at the same time offering a practical way to manage our differences. Where the competing claims of "a Clash of Civilizations" on one hand, and a groundless moral relativism on the other can make such a project seem impossible—-with wit, reason, and humanity, Professor Appiah offers a new approach to living a moral life in the modern age.

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