DiscoverSean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas83 | Kwame Anthony Appiah on Identity, Stories, and Cosmopolitanism
83 | Kwame Anthony Appiah on Identity, Stories, and Cosmopolitanism

83 | Kwame Anthony Appiah on Identity, Stories, and Cosmopolitanism

Update: 2020-02-10
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The Greek statesman Demosthenes is credited with saying “I am a citizen of the world,” and the idea that we should take a cosmopolitan view of our common humanity is a compelling one. Not everyone agrees, however; in the words of former British Prime Minister Theresa May, “If you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere.” On the other side of the political spectrum, groups who share a feature of identity — race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and others — find it useful to band together to make political progress. Kwame Anthony Appiah is a leading philosopher and cultural theorist who has thought carefully about the tricky issues of cosmopolitanism and identity. We talk about how identities form, why they matter, and how to negotiate the difficult balance between being human and being your particular self.

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Kwame Anthony Appiah received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Cambridge University. He is currently Professor of Philosophy and of Law at New York University. He is the author of numerous academic books as well as several novels. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is the recipient of a number of major awards, including the National Humanities Medal of the United States. He currently writes the New York Times Magazine column “The Ethicist“, and frequently writes for The New York Review of Books. (Note that in the podcast intro I mistakenly said he was “born and raised” in Ghana; he was actually born in London, moving to Ghana when he was six months old.)


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AMA | November 2020

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83 | Kwame Anthony Appiah on Identity, Stories, and Cosmopolitanism

83 | Kwame Anthony Appiah on Identity, Stories, and Cosmopolitanism