Free Essay

Appiah

In: English and Literature

Submitted By alexabaran
Words 1337
Pages 6
In Cosmopolitanism, Kwame Anthony Appiah’s argument revolves around the topic of making nations united and turning the world into a cosmopolitan one. Cosmopolitanism means the acceptance of various cultures and societies whether or not one actually believes in them. According to Appiah, conversation is the tool that would make it all possible. Conversation is the element that unites people, whether it is person to person, or nation to nation. Ultimately, all cultures have their own standards that they believe are the norm, whether or not the cultures agree amongst each other. Appiah believes that in order for these cultures to be united, there has to be some form of communication between them. Dialogue may not have the power to completely resolve tensions amongst nations, but it definitely has the ability to simplify minor quarrels and miscommunications. Throughout his work, Appiah uses various examples that explain how his method of conversation has led to a positive social impact when dealing with the issue of division and conflict. Appiah puts into perspective some very important issues: the issue of whether or not beating children is a valid way to raise them and the issue of gender roles and how different cultures have evolved when it comes to how to approach the topic. Ultimately, Appiah values the power of communication as a vital source of worldwide progress. Appiah provides the example of beating children and the positive and negative opinions about the subject. He states that it is a logical solution to do so if one believes “it is a good way to teach them right from wrong and that, despite the temporary suffering caused by a beating, they will end up better for it” (Appiah 75). Some believe that beating youngsters is a valid way to raise children since it teaches them discipline and serves as a reminder for them not to misbehave again. But there are those who believe spanking is not a good solution to raising children and is a cruel way of bringing them up. Instead, this method entails the up bringers to teach the child that whatever it is they are doing is wrong and they should not be doing it again. For example, if a parent tells the child not to touch a hot stove and he or she deliberately does so just to disobey, the child will then have to learn the consequence of getting burnt because of touching the hot stove. Even though these are two varying opinions, Appiah believes that communication is the element tying them together. Even though one person may believe in beatings and another may not, communication amongst the two parties will give them both clarity as to why and how they believe in what they believe. Indeed, two very different opinions are being voiced. The notion used to be that women had no place in the work field. It was unheard of that they had jobs that included being lawyers or doctors. Appiah points out that “middle-class women would ideally be housewives and mothers” (Appiah 77). This is exactly what the world used to believe. Appiah claims that “there are still people, [he] know[s], who think that the ideal life for any woman is making and managing a home” (Appiah 78). Especially, in America, it is almost customary that women be heading out and experiencing jobs and positions that were unheard to have a woman be involved in in the 1950’s. It is true that America is slowly eliminating the whole “gender role” term from its vocabulary and now, women are stronger and not afraid to stand up for their rights. Today, no one thinks twice about a woman having the position of being a lawyer or even a politician. In today’s western world, men and women are looked upon as equal, while gender roles are still highly in tact in third world countries. There, the man is head of the household and the wife should be able to pay respect to her man, while here, it is more evenly distributed. There is no doubt that gender role habits have changed over the years and that the now norm is of greater variety when comparing the west world to the east. Of course, the third world countries will look upon women getting so involved in men’s positions with a frown, since it is not what they are used to. Furthermore, communication between the West and East cultures is an ideal way of keeping different cultures intact and updated on what the other cultures are standing for and whatever changes they are going through, if any. This is exactly what Appiah stands for when he talks about uniting the nations all across the world. Because of technology, the strategies that people use to communicate with one another all around the world are mind blowing. Appiah mentions, “most people knew little about the ways of other tribes, and could affect just a few local lives” (Appiah 68). When it came to trade, people were not educated enough about the countries they were trading with and therefore could only really see what was on the surface, without realizing more extreme pros and cons of doing so. Now, with technology’s advancements, Appiah claims “the human community has gradually been drawn into a single web of trade and a global network of information” (Appiah 68). A united as this single web seems to be, there are, unfortunately, some setbacks that come along with it. With such advanced trade in place, some humans can twist its goodness and abuse it for mischievous purposes. For example, the trading of weapons may be a dangerous act as people can then use them for the destruction of other nations. Likewise, such trade can also take many poor farmers out of their businesses because of how much richer and more powerful it is. And, of course, not to mention the number one setback: the inevitability of diseases that come along with arriving at the different nations. However, there is much good that comes out of trade. Today, nations all around the world can now achieve the unthinkable. Communication amongst nations has advanced so much that brilliant ideas can be communicated all throughout the world. This makes cultures come together and creates the feeling of unity amongst nations. Through this, the world as a whole can become a better place for all.
In the end, it is communication that makes the world go round. Appiah proves his point countless times throughout “Cosmopolitan” and uses several examples to elaborate how communication is the key to make a successful cosmopolitan world possible. Considering the child spanking example, some of the world will believe the sole action of beating is a terrible idea, while others will consider it to be the way to raise a child successfully. Additionally, gender roles may seem like the logical step in choosing whether a woman or a man should take on a certain role. Without communication, there would be so many unexplained differences in the world and in the end, nations would end up hating each other for not understanding the reasoning behind what the other nation is thinking. With so many diverse cultures and societies around the world there are so many questions about why other people other than ourselves have a different way they go about getting things done. It is what makes the world we live in an interesting place, after all. Ultimately it is communication that keeps nations sane amongst each other. Appiah presents various ways different cultures look at certain issues and helps put into perspective how different cultures are and how intensely their opinions on certain issues vary. It would be pretty much impossible to suffice everyone in the world and make them believe the same things to be true. Communication serves as the most reliable way to interact among the different cultures and societies of the world.

Works Cited
Appiah, Kwame Anthony. “Cosmopolitanism.” Emerging: Contemporary Readings for Writers. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford, 2013. 67-82. Print

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Appiah

...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 needs a power source to function” or “it can be used to send emails” all are true facts about a laptop. When many of these “criterial beliefs” are put together, it can be used to define the word, even if a clear set definition cannot be given. This is the ideational meaning of a word. With this, Appiah also introduces “strict criterial theory”. What philosopher Frank Ramsey stated was that...

Words: 370 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Appiah Essay

...Brianna Backiel Professor Brian French ENC1102 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......

Words: 1243 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Hvistendahl and Appiah

...Melendy 5 March 2015 Hvistendahl v. Appiah Traditions are a big part of what shapes one’s ideas. Mara Hvistendahl explains in, ‘Missing: 163 Million Women’ that traditions have caused in a decrease in the amount of children that are born each year in girls, while the boy population grows. Kwame Anthony Appiah explains in, ‘Making Conversation’ and ‘The Primacy of Practice’, that through conversing and accepting others even though they may not agree with the traditions or norms of others, and there will be peace in the world. Appiah’s response to Hvistendahl’s article is to inform the public about how traditions will cause an extinction in women and ultimately, the entire human race will be wiped out from the face of the Earth. In order to let them know, we cannot tell them what to do because we will be telling them that their traditions are wrong and we are right. Mara Hvistendahl explains in her article that due to affordable medical tech, ultrasound, allows the women in Asia to find out whether they will have a girl a boy. Their tradition favors having boys, and will have an abortion if are expecting a girl. Naturally, 105 boys are born for every 100 girls, but now there is a gender imbalance because there are 126 boys born per every 100 girls. Appiah would say that it is in fact a taboo to have an abortion in many countries, especially developing ones, but having and maintaining tradition is much more important to them. Appiah would suggest to inform people about......

Words: 489 - Pages: 2

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

Free Essay

Appiah Paper 1

...Conversation Kwame Anthony Appiah writes in his book Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (2006) about how people have imaginary boundaries that result in a lack of awareness. Many issues in the world are caused simply because at least one of the two sides in an issue are simply ignorant or unaware of the reality that the other side faces. Appiah explains that conversation is extremely important to the progression of the beliefs and ideals that human beings hold as individuals and as a society. In his book, Appiah speaks on the importance of conversation. Appiah defines conversation by stating, “So I’m using the word ‘conversation’ not only for literal talk but also as a metaphor for engagement with the experience and the ideas of others. And I stress the role of the imagination here because the encounters, properly conducted, are valuable in themselves. Conversation doesn’t have to load to consensus about anything, especially not values; it’s enough that it helps people get used to one another.” Appiah is correct in saying conversation amongst people with different beliefs and backgrounds can bring change to cultures and society, but nothing he points out should be regarded as anything other than attaching a name to a pattern that has repeated itself through human history. The practice of foot-binding in China is one of the examples Appiah provides to demonstrate how conversation can bring change. For over a thousand years, it was a Chinese custom for women......

Words: 968 - Pages: 4

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

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 “www.youdebate.com/DEBATES/gay_marriage,” 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 “YouDebate.com” 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

Free Essay

Cosmpolotinism

...universe. In the reading, “Cosmopolitanism” written by Kwame Anthony Appiah, he explains and uses many examples about how people should be proud to be representing their morals in a society where people can agree and disagree by connecting with one another through conversation. Appiah explains the importance of how communication plays in big role when discussing about culture. Conversation is a real human interaction in which cultural practices, norms, rituals, beliefs, are all shared together. Culture is a social interaction between friends, family, peers, in a specific place or community. Without conversation there is no cultural beliefs between one another, so conversation plays a big part in cultural characteristics and without these two factors cosmopolitism would not exist. As Appiah explains, “It begins with the simple idea that in the human community, as in national communities, we need to develop habits of coexistence, conversation in its older meaning… and conversation in its modern sense, too” (71). People who don’t understand their own social beliefs and backgrounds may feel their cultural beliefs have been forced on them, they might not know exactly how to express how they really feel. The use of conversation gives them a chance to create an opportunity to discus with other humans who may have their mind set on the other hand and what to hear another individual input. Having that said, conversation as Appiah explains it, does in fact work as a model for......

Words: 1018 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Conversation

...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, as every human community has gradually been drawn......

Words: 1047 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Kwame Anthony Appiah Analysis

...Portfolio Essay Most people go to college to cultivate and discover their passion in life and build their knowledge. Student will experience two ideas during college one is Utility U, which gets things done mentally without learning the subject. The other vision is Utopia U that builds the morals and ethics of the students. However, Kwame Anthony Appiah the author of “What is the point of College,” tells that Utility U and Utopia U, “leads to very different metrics of success” but his students have a different observation than what Appiah states so which one is better for the universities to use and for the students’ to become successful in the future. The students’ Appiah refers to in his article, “What is the Point of College?” state that “They learned that what you can do and who you can be-- the qualities of your skills and of your soul--are two separate questions...

Words: 681 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Gay Marriage and Cosmopolitanism

...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 “www.youdebate.com/DEBATES/gay_marriage,” 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 “YouDebate.com” 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

Conversing for Change

...Kwame Anthony Appiah is a Ghanaian-British-American philosopher who outlined his ideas of cosmopolitanism in his 2006 article “ Making Conversation.” Cosmopolitanism is the idea of having a moral responsibility to uphold proper etiquette for our multicultural differences. Appiah encourages society to extend our moral accountability to those around us not just to our relatives. His main premise on how to achieve such a global feat is through communication and understanding of one another’s culture. Appiah identifies that the world is interconnected; there is an inevitable reaction somewhere in the world for every action we take, no matter how insignificant of a decision it may seem. Appiah emphasizes that there is no “right” way to do one task as long as we are respectful to the various ways such task can be accomplished. Cosmopolitanism is not the idea of converging into one uniform society, but rather giving the appropriate respect to different social ideals. I agree with Appiah’s philosophy of becoming a more cosmopolitan society through the use of communication, I believe the most effective way of communicating will be to utilize social media. Conversation can be a powerful tool when used correctly. Cosmopolitanism’s ideology emphasizes the use of conversation to resolve issues and conflicts. The ideology uses the basis of conversation as a root to live and learn in a multicultural society successfully. In order to learn we must be selfless and “have obligations to......

Words: 810 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

America vs the World

...ruthless pursuit of one’s gratification, dominance, and ambition. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being proud and patriotic Americans. Although most people who live in America can agree that it is a great place to live, we should not project our way of life, as the only right way, onto other countries’ cultures, or people around the world, because when we do we take the risk of being viewed as America vs. the world. In the excerpt, Moral Disagreement, by Kwame Anthony Appiah, he discusses how different perspectives to any situation and or word(s) mean different things to others based on a variety of things: culture, religion, and morals to name a few. Appiah is a native of Ghana and because of his different upbringing and perspective he views things different. For example, “Many married women lived with their brothers, visiting their husbands on a regular timetable” (Appiah 381). For most Americans this may sound very strange or wrong; however, to Akan culture this is their norm. Appiah continues to say; “There are, in short, different ways of organizing family life. Which one makes sense to you will depend, in good measure, on the concepts with which you grew up” (382). For most Americans we may disagree with the Akan...

Words: 1196 - Pages: 5

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

A Life's Worth

...A Life’s Worth by James Adrian S. Amparado Life is beautiful, when you have your loved ones and having an experience of wonderful. The love given, and in return much love received and woven. Living the life of love, that is the life that we should have. Knowing the value of the self, the love and to it, makes the life worth it. This is how I value life, it starts by knowing thy self. This short poem that I made is about a life’s worth of a person. Having knowledge of life running through a person, attaching love and experience to the way of life. One statement made me do it. A statement told by a philosopher named Socrates about life. The most interesting and influential thinker in the fifth century was Socrates, whose dedication to careful reasoning transformed the entire initiative. He pursued genuine knowledge rather than mere victory over an opponent, Socrates employed the same logical tricks developed by the Sophists to a new purpose, the pursuit of truth. Thus, his willingness to call everything into question and his determination to accept nothing less than a suitable account of the nature of things make him the first clear promoter of critical philosophy. Although he was well known during his own time for his conversational skills and public teaching, Socrates wrote nothing. Nevertheless, it is usually assumed that at least the early dialogues of Plato provide an accurate representation of Socrates himself. "The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates...

Words: 909 - Pages: 4