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Cosmopolitanism Ethics in a World of Strangers

AAppiah, 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." ~ The New Yorker

Table of Contents

    • Introduction     xi
    • Chapter 1 The Shattered Mirror     1
    • Chapter 2 The Escape from Positivism     13
    • Chapter 3 Facts on the Ground     33
    • Chapter 4 Moral Disagreement     45
    • Chapter 5 The Primacy of Practice     69
    • Chapter 6 Imaginary Strangers     87
    • Chapter 7 Cosmopolitan Contamination     101
    • Chapter 8 Whose Culture Is It, Anyway?     115
    • Chapter 9 The Counter-Cosmopolitans     137
    • Chapter 10 Kindness to Strangers     155
    • Acknowledgments     175
    • Notes     177
    • Index     183