English and Literature
Submitted By simmonsj2013
Rough Draft Cosmopolitanism is the view that all human beings are world citizens with each individual having their own responsibility that range beyond nationwide boundaries. Cosmopolitanism has effects on the economic, moral, and political 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 resolving, or at least managing a conflict and division. Conversation has, and will continue leading us in the right direction of social change.
Conversation is used so humans can express their feelings or opinions to be heard by others around them who may not agree or disagree with that what they have to say, but that they value the conversation. Appiah believes that conversation is the first and the most important step to understanding each other as humans. In Appiahs section, Changing Our Minds, he talks about how some cultures have different standards and beliefs than others. This means some cultures may adjust to these beliefs and accept them and other cultures may think it is outrageous. As discussed in the reading, when you believe in something, you usually try and persuade others to change their minds to your own view. Everybody is different, so they all have their own judgments and opinions and Appiah understands that. Appiah states, “Reasoning—by which I mean the public act of exchanging stated justifications—comes in not when we are going on in the usual way, but when we are thinking about change. And when it comes to change, what moves people is often not an argument from a principle, not a long discussion about values, but just a gradually acquired new way of setting things” (75-76). This is a very strong quote as to dealing with how everyone deals with a dramatic change in their life whatever it may have to do with. Appiah believes that giving people second chances is a good idea and that we need to learn about other people’s point of view and different perspectives. This will help everyone get used to be all as one, or a “citizen of the cosmopolitans”. By stating this, not implying that this will work every time and people will automatically connect with each other and make them change their minds, but it a great way to start connecting no matter what boundaries you came from. Whether you believe in the same values or not, there will ultimately be some sort of conflict in the value that is being discussed. It is human nature to believe that one person is right and the other one is wrong. Appiah uses a great example when talking about value towards one another. In Appiahs section, Fighting for the Good, he uses abortion as an example, they discuss abortion in a language of conflicting values. Some people may be pro-life and some maybe pro-choice. The most important part is that both sides agree on the values of abortion in some sort of way. Appiah states, “The disagreement is about their significance. Both sides respect something like the sanctity of human life. They disagree about such things as why human life is so precious and where it begins” (79). Appiah represents ideas that show how people can learn to accept useful information and new ideas that they can learn how to adjust these new ideas. The social change Appiah is looking for is for the public to react in a way where they show effort and believe that they can make this happen. He does not want people to rush into a new idea without thinking consciously about it but the faster you make up your mind the faster there can be social change. In another section of Appiahs article, Local Agreements, he talks about society as a whole to come together to come to some sort of agreements without having to argue behind the first agreement. At one point or another, he wants people to come to an agreement at a midway point. An example Appiah uses in the United States’ Constitution and everything that partakes in the amendments. There are some who disagree on an amendment and some who may agree on an amendment. We still manage to live together without agreeing on what the values are that make it good to live together. Appiah explains, “No doubt there are widely shared values that help Americans live together in amity… they certainly don’t live together because they have a shared theory of value or shared story as to how to bring “their” values to bear in each case” (74). This is pretty simple, some people may understand and see something they would not do personally, so in most cases, they turn their shoulder and look the other way.