“Honor Codes and Moral Revolutions” with K. Anthony Appiah

Episode 22:

Originally broadcast: November 14, 2010

How does the concept of honor inspire moral revolutions? What is the ethical code at the core of dueling? How does dishonor lead to fundamental changes in behavior and shifts in entire moral systems? These questions lie at the core of a fascinating discussion about the nature and origin of ethical practices. Join WHY? as we interview K. Anthony Appiah, as he discusses his new book The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen. Talk with us as we draw lines between British aristocratic duels, “honor killings’ in Pakistan, the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade, and foot-biding in turn-of-the-century China. As Appiah shows, by focusing on the age-old question of honor, we can see, more clearly than ever, why moral beliefs are what they are.

Kwame Anthony Appiah is the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. He is widely published with diverse interests. Some of his books include: In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture, Color Conscious: The Political Morality of Race, The Ethics of Identity and Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers and Cosmopolitanism.

Why? host Jack Russell Weinstein explains: “Anthony is precisely the kind of person we want on this show. A diverse thinker who takes philosophical risks. A clear and accessible writer who can communicate the profound to every kind of audience. I’m thrilled to be able to learn from him and to have him challenge my understanding of what morality is and where it comes from.”

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