What will future generations condemn us for?
September 28, 2010 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Kwame Anthony Appiah discusses honor, moral revolutions, and the condemnation of future generations. His new book The Honor Code chronicles how the concept of honor has been crucial in the fight against immoral practices like dueling, foot-binding, and slavery. (See also 1, 2)
posted by anotherpanacea (14 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
"Too many minivans advertise, somewhat touchingly, that “My Child Is an Honor Student.” The word honor is often linked, as morality is not, with violence."

keep the honor students away from mini-vans?
posted by clavdivs at 2:59 PM on September 28, 2010

They will condemn us for:
1. massive pollution and resource depletion with no goal;
2. not using the easy energy to build up permanent renewable energy;
3. not keeping the libraries open during recessions NO MATTER WHAT
4. My Mother the Car, and Invasion of the Booty Snatchers
posted by Twang at 4:43 PM on September 28, 2010

Appiah is an amazing thinker and writer who should be better known than he is. Thanks for the post.
posted by languagehat at 4:59 PM on September 28, 2010

An interview in NPR.

Codes of honor can be changed through humor, like in the recent series of adds for Panda cheese in the Middle East. In the Middle East there is a shift in the perception of honor concurrent with modernization. People are no longer shepard's protecting flocks of sheep and making cheese themselves, they are buying cheese at Safeway box stores and working in office cubicles (as in the commercials). Protecting ones honor from insult like in the old days is over the top to the point of ridiculous humor. Like the Panda.
posted by stbalbach at 5:13 PM on September 28, 2010

That Washington Post article was what I intended to link to for "condemnation of future generations," which is also the source of the post's title.

I am shamed by the mistake.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:24 PM on September 28, 2010

And now it is fixed, so I am shamed by the confusion my first comment will cause in future readers....
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:39 PM on September 28, 2010

Wow, this is good. Thank you. At first glance (and this is a very early and limited first glance), it seems to me he's learned a great deal about being human by earnestly and compassionately examining his own coming-out process and is seeking to make what he's learned intelligible in a universal, philosophical sense.

The interview has, so far, grabbed me in an unexpectedly emotional way, and reminds me of how I felt when I first began reading and learning about philosophy.
posted by treepour at 8:30 PM on September 28, 2010

Thanks. I'm a big fan of Appiah. His book Cosmopolitanism was one of those books that stated things about our cultures and beliefs around the world which, in retrospect, seem so obvious but which few others are thinking or writing about. I wouldn't hesitate to call the issues he tackles urgent.
posted by vacapinta at 12:38 AM on September 29, 2010

A few responses to the WaPo op-ed:

Ross Douthat
Will Wilkinson
Tyler Cowen
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:21 AM on September 29, 2010

Appiah on Sam Harris's new book.
posted by OmieWise at 4:33 PM on October 3, 2010

This is my review of the book: "Appiah's Honor."
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:37 PM on October 20, 2010

That's an excellent and informative review; thanks for linking to it. (I hope the smiley at the end of the penultimate paragraph is an accident; if so, you might want to eliminate it. I don't think Kant would approve of smileys.)
posted by languagehat at 10:01 AM on October 21, 2010

Thanks languagehat. The funny thing is that I actually thought about editing the smiley out, after I saw your comment. Which just proves the point: shame motivates, even typographic shame.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:19 PM on October 24, 2010

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