Free Essay

Appiah Essay

In: English and Literature

Submitted By bbackiel
Words 1243
Pages 5
Brianna Backiel
Professor Brian French
February 25, 2016

In “Cosmopolitanism,” Kwame Appiah uses this term to explain the responsibility that each member of the universe has to one another; a responsibility that goes beyond just country borders. He believes that in this day in age we separate ourselves from others with whom we do not share the same nations, opinions, customs, etc.. Appiah says, “In the wake of 9/11, there has been a lot of fretful discussion about the divide between us and them” (72). In the world today humans have a tendency to be fearful and hesitant when it comes to things we do not understand or that are different. This may be partially human nature; however, this intolerance was definitely heightened drastically after the events of 9/11. In our post 9/11 world the state of cosmopolitanism, if adopted, would greatly improve communication with other nations and lead to a progression of knowledge.
In this reading Appiah really explores the way we humans communicate with each other and the problems that arise. He concludes that in many ways we might hear each other but we do not listen. Our preconceptions of other’s ideas, cultures, and beliefs cloud the conversations that we have with individuals with whom we do not share coinciding beliefs. Appiah also says, “conversations across boundaries can be fraught, all the more so as the world grows smaller and the stakes grow larger” (68). This means that the stricter we humans affiliate only with our niche and community the less meaningful our conversations become. It is impossible for new ideas and knowledge to be exchanged when we only communicate with those who agree with us. Our intense fear of other cultures that stems from 9/11 has closed off communication and conversation with many parts of the world. Our border and airport security is over the top and there is an overwhelming sense of fear regarding anyone who comes from a foreign country. As Americans we keep to our own and shut out the rest of the world in many ways. Our foreign policy is such that we only get involved with other countries’ problems if we serve to benefit. Interest is isolated primarily with our own self perseverance. If we could communicate with all the other countries of the world in a cosmopolitan matter, many conflicts could at the very least be controlled. Cosmopolitan communication calls for really listening to the other side without preconceptions getting in the way. For new knowledge to be exchanged this is vital. We could learn so much from other countries of the world if we adopted this philosophy. Appiah also mentions that it’s important to remember that conversations can also be a pleasure. He says this in context about his hometown being such a melting pot of different nationalities and upbringings and how much he enjoyed conversing with these people. Thus, making his point that when we talk to people of different backgrounds of our own something very important and sacred is exchanged; a new perception of the world. In order for knowledge to really grow, conversations like this in which a new point of view is gained is necessary when dealing with conflicts abroad. This small scale example can apply to the world we live in today. Instead of being fearful of other nations’ intentions, if open communication existed in which clashing points of views were examined by both parties many more conflicts could be resolved.
As Americans we believe our way of doing things and handling situations is the right way. It is hard to understand and accept anything different. Appiah says, “we take seriously the value not just of human life but of particular human lives” (69). This applies to US foreign policy because we as Americans only jump into a dispute with other countries and regions if we serve to gain. Government officials put the lives of our citizens above the lives of everyone else in the world. Of course, one could argue that they are simply doing their job. They take an oath to protect this country and the people of it and they are not obligated to do anything more than just that. However, when atrocities are going on in other countries should we be concerned? Borders are just an invisible line that separate us and as the cosmopolitan philosophy explains, we are all citizens of the world first and foremost. That is why the importance of maintaining civilized relationships with these other countries should not be ignored. We may not always agree and come to a resolution by communicating with other nations, but we have a moral obligation to at least try. By shutting out all communication with other nations, the chance to progress is eliminated. Another interesting part of his argument was that for the most part, as humans sharing the same earth-we all have the same goal: to make the world a better, safer place in order to pursue our own happiness. Appiah says that often times the same end game is wanted by opposing sides on a certain controversial subject. This way of thinking can be applied to almost every controversial debate in modern times. Appiah really brings to light that we can want the exact same thing ultimately as someone on the opposing side of the argument, it’s just how we go about getting there where things become heated. Appiah really puts forth a new way of thinking in this argument that we all as Americans should pay attention to. Of course, simply embracing Cosmopolitanism as a way to deal with domestic disputes is not going to directly solve all conflicts. Appiah realizes the limitations of this philosophy when he says, “Cosmopolitanism is the name not of the solution but of the challenge” (70). This is because communicating and coming to an agreement on issues where so many different lives hang in the balance is no easy skill to master. It is much easier to simply focus on only what is affecting you and the people or country to which you belong. However, as people that are all sharing the same earth we should care what happens to one another no matter what niche we are born into. There is so much to benefit and learn by having open communication with the rest of the world. Especially in our post 9/11 world when the fear of people different than us predominates our foreign policy. ‘Cosmopolitanism’ by Kwame Appiah is a very interesting mix of philosophical debate and historical fiction. He introduces many concepts that as Americans, we should pay more attention to. After 9/11, as a nation we are much more fearful and weary of anyone that is different than ‘us’. We are less inclined to start conversations and interact with other parts of the globe because of the mindset that anyone different is a threat to us. Appiah’s argument in this section of his book talks about how detrimental this way of thinking really is to us. Without introduction to new ideas and knowledge that others can offer, we will always remain stagnant and fearful of anything different. Appiah says, “By the end, I hope to have made it harder to think of the world as divided between the West and the Rest; between locals and moderns; between a bloodless ethic of profit and a bloody ethic of identity; between us and them.”

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Gay Marriage

...states where people feel strongly one way or another. Even though it has become legalized in all 50 states, some Americans are unhappy with the progress that the gay community is making, and more liberal Americans are upset because the gay community is not making enough progress. Kwame Anthony Appiah, a philosopher, believes that cultural differences are to be respected in so far as they are not harmful to people and in no way conflict with our universal concern for every human’s life and well being. (18) Every individual person should have equal rights, regardless of sexuality. Gay marriage should stay legalized in all states and should be legalized in all countries, as it has been held off for too long. Many debates constantly surface about this topic, one of which was present online in an open forum. This forum, found at “,” was one where many people stated how they feel about gay marriage and why. Anyone was allowed to make statements on this website, no matter how they felt. The ways that these statements were presented on “” are a form of communication that links Kwame Anthony Appiah’s ideas in his essay “Cosmopolitanism.” Appiah uses the term “cosmopolitanism” to discuss how people from different backgrounds should...

Words: 1600 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Kwame Anthony Appiah Cosmopolitanism Essay

...people end up ignoring the issue and instead of helping people they hurt them. Today in America a xenophobic culture has taken the country by storm. More people start to ignore problems and refuse to help. The philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah sheds some light through his philosophy of cosmopolitanism. Appiah applies the philosophy of cosmopolitanism on helping each other in every aspect. Cosmopolitanism is the philosophy that shows how some Americans take responsibility for the world....

Words: 579 - Pages: 3

Free Essay


...Kwame Anthony Appiah’s essay, “Race, Culture, Identity” revolves around the words mentioned in the title, and how each one of their definitions are misunderstood and mistaken for one another. He works his way towards clarifying what each one means, using various concepts, examples and references to the words of historical figures. Two of the concepts used to identify what a race was were the ideational meaning and referential meaning. Out of the two, ideational meaning is one where one cannot get a clear definition about what a certain word or object is, however, all the facts presented about it still hold true. “The simplest theory would also require that if we collected together all these criterial beliefs about race and took them all together, they could be thought of as defining the meaning of the word, “race.” (This is equivalent to saying that there are things that have to be true of something if it is to be a race – conditions necessary are, when taken together, sufficient for being a race.) We can use a device invented by the English philosopher Frank Ramsey in the 1920s to make this an explicit definition: something is a race just in case all the criterial beliefs are true of it. Lets call this the “strict criterial theory.” (Appiah 104) Appiah had stated earlier, right before this quotation, that criterial beliefs “define the concept” that one is talking about. For example, if a person was talking about a laptop, certain points or descriptions such as “it......

Words: 370 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Gay Marriage and Cosmopolitanism

...the gay community is not making enough progress. Many debates constantly surface about this topic, one of which was present online in an open forum. This forum, entitled “,” was one where many people stated how they feel about gay marriage and why. Anyone was allowed to make statements on this website, no matter how they felt. The ways that these statements were presented on “” are a form of communication that links Kwame Anthony Appiah’s ideas in his essay “Cosmopolitanism.” Appiah uses the term “cosmopolitanism” to discuss how people from different backgrounds should consider one another’s opinions through conversations. In Appiah’s essay entitled “Cosmopolitanism,” he discusses how people can achieve a better understanding of one another by listening to each other. He believes that if people have an open mind and do not judge one another, then conversing together may create a world that is more accepting. Appiah thinks that the American society has changed with the passing of generations. He stated “When one turns from the issue of criminalization of gay sex-which is, at least for the moment, unconstitutional in the United States-to the question of gay marriage, all sides of the debate take seriously issues of sexual autonomy, the value of the intimate lives of couples, the meaning of family, and by the way of perversion, the proper use of...

Words: 1409 - Pages: 6

Free Essay


...Essay 1; Conversation When you think of the term conversation, the first thing that comes to mind is two or more people talking with one another. Author Kwame Anthony Appiah sees conversation as more than just face-to-face talking. In the articles Making Conversation and The Primacy of Practice, Appiah views conversation as any type communication even simply just seeing how other countries/cultures operate. Basic understanding of one another is Appiahs view of conversation. Kwame Anthony Appiah states his belief that the world is separated by unnecessary lines and communication is a way that we can break those lines and possibly achieve cosmopolitanism. Cosmopolitanism, as Appiah describes it, is the challenge of the world acting as one community and with the first step of conversation, we can all ‘live together as a global tribe.’ Conversation will help us challenge ourselves to see the importance in our own actions, along with developing the understanding to see what others do as important as well. Once we understand the good that can come out of conversation, as well as the limitations that it has, the future will be much more socially efficient and we will be able to have left conflict. We are all separated but at the same time we are all connected. In this century we have the ability to see what is going on across the globe. Already we are sharing in ways of communication over the internet and radio. Appiah states, “Only in the past couple of centuries,......

Words: 1047 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

We Are One

...Heller 1 Greydi Heller Professor Kumar English 101 034 ITIS Monday, October 12, 2015 
 “ We are One ” Kwame Anthony Appiah was born in London, raised in Ghana and educated at Cambridge University. He became Laurence S. Rockefeller University, Professor of Philosophy and faculty member of the universal central of human values at Princeton, he is currently living in New York City. Appiah’s personal and professional experiences make him highly qualified to talk about Cosmopolitanism in “Making Conversations”, where he gives an interesting twist to the original concept of cosmopolitanism. According to Appiah, we do not have to choose sides between nationalists and hardcore cosmopolitanism. He believes that the position worth defending may be called partial cosmopolitanism.  In other words we do not need to go to the right or left, we can stay in between cosmopolitanism and nationalism. Agreeing ,that as citizen of the world we need to develop habits of coexistence,it’s a responsibility that we have to one another even if we are not closely related or similar to each. Appia, makes it very clear saying that cosmopolitanism is not the name of the solution it’s the challenge for every human being to get along with each other .We can better get along with others by getting to know our differences, and our similarities by using a simple tool Heller 2 which is the conversation. I agree with Appiah’s argument, I like the idea of......

Words: 1361 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Kwame Anthony Appiah

...Kwame Anthony Appiah Philosopher By Craig Mondaine Who is Kwame Anthony Appiah and what does he do? A philosopher, cultural theorist, and novelist who’s accomplishments are numerous and deserved. Appiah’s philosophy focuses on political and moral theory, the philosophy of language and mind and African intellectual history. He is now currently the Laurence S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. My paper is intended to outline his life, education, accomplishments and philosophical theory. Appiah was born in London to Enid Margaret Appiah, an art historian and writer, and Joe Emmanuel Appiah, a lawyer, diplomat, and politician from the Asante region. Between the years 1977 and 1978 he was Ghana's representative at the United Nations. Young Appiah was raised in Kumasi, Ghana. As a child, he also spent a good deal of time in England, staying with his grandmother, Dame Isobel Cripps, widow of the English statesman Sir Stafford Cripps. Cripps was Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, or Minister of Finance, and was also involved in negotiating the terms for Indian independence. He currently lives in Manhatten with his husband, Henry Finder, the editorial director of the New Yorker since 1997. Professor Appiah was educated at the University Primary School at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi; at Ullenwood Manor, in Gloucestershire, and Port Regis and Bryanston Schools, in Dorset; and, finally, at......

Words: 867 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Annie Proulx Essay

...Academic essay on Annie Proulx's "Job Story" Choices are something we all make. Not necessarily important choices, but there will always be a time to make them. It's not always good choices, but they have to be made. There will always be consequences, whether it's bad or good. Throughout the story, Leeland Lee has to make a lot of choices. Where to live, where to work and when to work. All the different choices he made, put him in the position he is now. Leeland Lee is an awkward-looking young boy. His face is heavily boned, which he has gotten from his mom, his neck is quite thick and he has red-gold hair. His eyes are as pouchy as a middle-aged alcoholic. His nose is broad and lays close to his face. Lori Bovee is Leeland Lee's wife. She has an undistinguished oval face, and hair of medium length. Leeland Lee is the protagonist of the story, because he is the main character. I would say Leeland is a flat and static character as he is an endless optimist. He doesn't give up when it comes to finding a new job, and despite his wife dying he still gets a job at Unique Eats. The reason he is a static character is because he doesn't change at all. After getting several different jobs he doesn't change anything, after his mom and wife dies he doesn't change one single thing except the fact he isn't listening to the radio anymore, but since that have been an important factor of the story all along, it can also show a lot about how he has changed. The story starts......

Words: 733 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Job History

...Essay on “Job History” written by Annie Proulx In the short story “Job History” written by Annie Proulx, we follow Leeland Lee from the time of his birth, until he is about fifty years old. In the short story we follow Leeland through his harsh life, with ups and downs, in the form of thoughts, feelings, incidents, etc. Leeland is born in a ranch in Wyoming, and lives there with his wife Lori. Leeland does not look particularly good, in fact he is a very unattractive man; (page 91, line 12)“Leeland’s face shows heavy bones from his mother’s side. His neck is thick and his red-gold hair plastered down in bangs. Even as a child his eyes are as pouchy as those of a middle-age alcoholic, the brows rod-straight above wandering out-of-line eyes. His nose lies broad and close to his face, his mouth seems to have been cut with a single chisel blow into easy flesh” And in the top of that, we see how Leeland through his life, tries to find a successful career, but fails consistently. He moves various times from place to place, too seek occupation and good business. But it is hard when you’re a high school dropout, without a career. Leeland have to changes his job constantly, because of his lack of luck, and since he can’t get along white his bosses. He is never able to stay at one job or place for long, which lead to problems in the family. He has a hard time supporting his wife, and their children financially. Throughout the story the author, Annie Proulx manages...

Words: 357 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Essay 1

...An essay is a piece of writing which is often written from an author's personal[->0] point of view[->1]. Essays can consist of a number of elements, including: literary criticism[->2], political manifestos[->3], learned arguments[->4], observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author. The definition of an essay is vague, overlapping with those of an article[->5] and a short story[->6]. Almost all modern essays are written in prose[->7], but works in verse[->8] have been dubbed essays (e.g. Alexander Pope[->9]'s An Essay on Criticism[->10] and An Essay on Man[->11]). While brevity usually defines an essay, voluminous works like John Locke[->12]'s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding[->13] and Thomas Malthus[->14]'s An Essay on the Principle of Population[->15] are counterexamples. In some countries (e.g., the United States and Canada), essays have become a major part of formal education[->16]. Secondary students are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills, and admission essays[->17] are often used by universities[->18] in selecting applicants and, in the humanities and social sciences, as a way of assessing the performance of students during final exams. The concept of an "essay" has been extended to other mediums beyond writing. A film essay is a movie that often incorporates documentary film making styles and which focuses more on the evolution of a theme or an idea. A photographic essay[->19] is an attempt to cover a topic...

Words: 521 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Liking Is for Cowards, Go for What Hurts

...We all know love. We have all loved in some kind of way. We love our parents, significant others and even our friends. But we can also love other things like animals or material things. But what is the difference between loving and liking? And is it better not to love and feel pain or to love and be hurt in the progress? Jonathan Franzen seeks to answer these questions in his essay “Liking Is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts”. The essay “Liking Is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts” is, as mentioned, written by Jonathan Franzen and published in The New York Times, May 28, 2011. Jonathan Franzen is born in 1959, and he is an acclaimed American novelist and essayist. The essay is based on the commencement speech he delivered at Kenyon College in Ohio, USA. “Our technology has become extremely adept in creating products that correspond to our fantasy ideal of an erotic relationship, in which the beloved object asks for nothing and gives everything, instantly. (…)” As Franzen claims in his essay, many people can feel like they love their technological object. It gives them a satisfaction, which human interaction maybe wouldn’t. Franzen however thinks, that people in general don’t love material things: they like them. There is a major difference between loving and liking – even though it might appear small. “Liking, in general, is commercial culture’s substitute for loving.” Products are made to be likeable, but if that concept in transferred to a person, you would instantly......

Words: 1039 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Reaction - Salvation

...Reaction – “Salvation” The nonfiction short essay “Salvation” written by Langston Hughes in 1940, presents a theme on the literal and often manipulated perception of children. Hughes narrates the essay as he recounts his disappointing attempt at salvation. Hughes aunt told him that when she was saved by Jesus she saw a light, and felt something happen within herself. As children will do, Hughes took her story literally and was heartbroken as he sat in front of the church and watched other children “saved” while he was not. He believed that Jesus must not want him because he did not see or feel anything. In the end, Hughes is forced to lie about accepting Jesus and in turn rejects the Christian faith all together. I related to Hughes story on many accounts. I am a mother of three young children who perceive everything in life literally, and as a young girl I was raised in a very religious environment. I could visualize and almost feel Hughes devastation as he sat at the front of the church crushed by the thoughts of God not wanting him. “Still I kept waiting to see Jesus” (Barnet, Cain, & Burto, 2011, pp. 351). One of the churches that my family attended for a short time during my childhood practiced speaking in tongs. I specifically remember feeling just like Hughes during a service when other children were speaking in unnatural languages perceived to be sent from God himself. I could not understand why I was not chosen to talk for God and intern was hurt and...

Words: 967 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Drug Addiction

...write an essay on drugs for this topic. Drugs are very harmful and keep the capability of dragging an individual towards death and destruction. People all over the world want to eradicate the adverse situation of drug addiction from this world and this is the reason why they are busy in writing essays on drugs. Essays on drugs are of many types such as war on drugs essay, essay on performance enhancing drugs in sports, essay on drug abuse, essay on illegal drugs, essay on drug addiction, essay on drug use, essay on drugs and alcohol and essay on drug testing, etc. The essays on drugs should be initiated by bringing in the information related to the topic of the essay on drug. You should know what drugs are. In an essay on drugs, you will have to write about drugs, their affects and the reasons due to which people use them, you have to include the information about why the drugs are so famous and how harmful are they. A persuasive essay on drugs will be one, which will be according to the topic of the essay on drugs. It should have a full-fledged introduction, which should introduce the topic completely. The introduction should also have a thesis statement that should be the main idea of the essay on drugs. A thesis statement should be based on the essay question to which your essay on drugs is an answer. A thesis statement of an essay on drugs can be one sentence or more than one sentence but it is suggested that it should be only one sentence. Essays on drug abuse or......

Words: 427 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

No Wonder They Call Me a Bitch

...Dog Food Fried, Flipped and Devoured Eating dog food may not be seen as the easiest thing to stomach because the smell, texture and by-products found within the mixture are thought of as awful and revolting. In Ann Hodgman’s “No Wonder They Call Me a Bitch”, although the title may suggest otherwise, different types of dog food are discussed. In this essay, Hodgman aims to inform her readers about the inequality in different types of dog food, as well as to entertain and amuse. Hodgman is writing to a broad audience, one of dog lovers and owners, as well as those that may be curious as to what is really in dog food, or more generally the packaging and processing of mass-produced food of any kind. Language, description and humor are techniques Hodgman skillfully uses to create a strong, convincing essay. Within this essay, Hodgman continually uses diction and syntax that a diverse audience can understand and relate to. In the beginning, the reader feels repulsed by what is written. However, through a light tone of voice and sentence structure, the levity of the experiences and feelings occurring throughout the experiment is conveyed. The personal anecdotes and thoughts make the tone feel less formal and much more story-like. In this way, Hodgman produces a piece that connects the information and readers Shortly after capturing interest through stating questions, Hodgman begins using large amounts of description. Each type of dog food is explained and illustrated so well that...

Words: 595 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay


...Business Essay Format and its Structure What Makes Business Essay Format? Those students, who study different business courses, for example management, marketing, have to write many different business essays. This type of essay as well as the others (argumentative essay, classification essay, cause and effect essay, persuasive essay, comparative essay, etc) has peculiar features that should be observed carefully in order to produce an essay in conformity with all instructions of research paper writing. One of these features to be observed at writing is business essay format as there is no doubt that format of the essay plays the same important role as the content of business essay. When student has made comprehensive research of the object and has found interesting ideas and sources to support hisher position, it does not mean that heshe has coped with a writing task. The writer should make the next step that is to organize hisher research paper writing in a proper way. It means that attention should be paid to the business essay format. In general, there are different formats of research paper – ChicagoTurabian, Harvard, APA, AMA, MLA format paper; which of them suits you the most depends on the business essay topic, subject, requirements set by the professor. When the student has chosen the format of the business essay it is very important to follow it and not use any elements of the other essay format. In case when you do not get any instruction as for the......

Words: 426 - Pages: 2