The Ethics of Identity

Kwame Anthony Appiah

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The Ethics of Identity

The Ethics of Identity Race ethnicity nationality religion gender sexuality in the past couple of decades a great deal of attention has been paid to such collective identities They clamor for recognition and respect

  • Title: The Ethics of Identity
  • Author: Kwame Anthony Appiah
  • ISBN: 9780691130286
  • Page: 262
  • Format: Paperback
  • Race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, sexuality in the past couple of decades, a great deal of attention has been paid to such collective identities They clamor for recognition and respect, sometimes at the expense of other things we value But to what extent do identities constrain our freedom, our ability to make an individual life, and to what extent do thRace, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, sexuality in the past couple of decades, a great deal of attention has been paid to such collective identities They clamor for recognition and respect, sometimes at the expense of other things we value But to what extent do identities constrain our freedom, our ability to make an individual life, and to what extent do they enable our individuality In this beautifully written work, renowned philosopher and African Studies scholar Kwame Anthony Appiah draws on thinkers through the ages and across the globe to explore such questions.The Ethics of Identity takes seriously both the claims of individuality the task of making a life and the claims of identity, these large and often abstract social categories through which we define ourselves.What sort of life one should lead is a subject that has preoccupied moral and political thinkers from Aristotle to Mill Here, Appiah develops an account of ethics, in just this venerable sense but an account that connects moral obligations with collective allegiances, our individuality with our identities As he observes, the question who we are has always been linked to the question what we are.Adopting a broadly interdisciplinary perspective, Appiah takes aim at the cliches and received ideas amid which talk of identity so often founders Is culture a good For that matter, does the concept of culture really explain anything Is diversity of value in itself Are moral obligations the only kind there are Has the rhetoric of human rights been overstretched In the end, Appiah s arguments make it harder to think of the world as divided between the West and the Rest between locals and cosmopolitans between Us and Them The result is a new vision of liberal humanism one that can accommodate the vagaries and variety that make us human.

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      262 Kwame Anthony Appiah
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      Posted by:Kwame Anthony Appiah
      Published :2018-08-18T13:26:48+00:00

    One thought on “The Ethics of Identity

    1. Michael on said:

      In The Ethics of Identity, Anthony Kwame Appiah (2005) argues for understanding identity in terms of autonomy, drawing on John Stuart Mill and liberalism. Diversity of identity, then, isn't valuable inherently in and of itself, but is rather valuable in "the enterprise of self-creation" (6). Appiah argues that the version of individuality as "authentic" and the version of individuality as "existential" are both misguided; instead, we need to understand individuality as created in response and w [...]

    2. Diana on said:

      Appiah, as usual, has written a comprehensive (and importantly, readable) text on the intersection of autonomy, social structure v. individual agency, liberalism, culture, and cosmopolitanism both as pragmatic and theoretical concepts. His references to classical thinkers such as J.S. Mill and Kant, are apty and clearly juxtaposed to postmodern philosophers such as John Rawls, Charles Taylor, Ronald Dworkin, Thomas Nagel and Richard Rorty. Ultimately Appiah gives a thorough ethical, political an [...]

    3. Janie on said:

      I love this book. It's in my Top 3 books so far this year.The first two chapters took more concentrated reading than the last few. I annotate my reading (my non-fiction mostly) and ended up with a dozen pages on this. Because I cannot possibly cover my thoughts here, I'll just note that basically Appiah contributes marvelously to the debates that make up liberalism and offers a new reading of John Stuart Mill. (Because the terms here can get so confusing, this is classical liberalism -- "real li [...]

    4. Magda on said:

      What i think matters more in this book is its clarity both in the formation of the arguments and the presentation of the author's points.What comes next, is the heartfelt temperament and the rich language, somehow unusual in this kind of books.These are not obvious remarks, and made me really appreciate a book that doesn't necessarily agree with all its readers.There is a lot of Mill interpretation, and a lot of literature -Tolstoy and Ishiguro mostly but many more references (which i also enjoy [...]

    5. Julia on said:

      Clear and distinct examination of our identities. Wonderful prose. Very helpful in untangling the myriad challenging concepts of my philosophy course.

    6. Brandon Kemp on said:

      Appiah's Ethics of Identity is one of those books that I picked up wanting to dislike or, at least, disagree with. Having read it, I still have plenty of issues, not the least of which are the difficulties involved in metaphysically grounding the sort of liberal individualism/autonomism favored by Appiah (though, in fairness to him, similar problems arise when non-liberal perspectives are taken as points of departure), the class elisions of his account, and the socioeconomic and political barrie [...]

    7. Steven Rodriguez on said:

      This book was a very, very timely book for me to read in 2016, as American higher education convulses with controversy and Trumpismâ„¢ & Brexit alter the political landscape.The book is a book of moral philosophy, exploring what we mean when we talk about "identity" and how it might inform our ethics and political engagement. After a romp through many philosophical problems, Appiah arrives at what he calls "rooted cosmopolitanism," which is his preferred way of balancing diverse 21st-century [...]

    8. Ft. Sheridan on said:

      EoI is clearly written, but somehow not clear about what its ultimate points and positions always are. Lots of interesting takes on other philosophers and interpretations of autonomy, culture, etc. Keeps going on about Mill and his Ghanaian patriot pops. A reference to Eminem win KAA points, though.

    9. Ken on said:

      Starts with a common critique of individualism and a not so common approach to Mill's 'On Liberty', reading him as having a quasi-Hegelian view of the individual/subject. Halfway through and I'm not finding anything that wasn't covered in Multiculturalism or in some of Walzer's recent works. After hearing a phenomenal speech by him entitled 'Experimental Philosophy', I was expecting much more.

    10. Matthew Walker on said:

      This is a good introduction to its subject. It is written in an accessible style and not just for an academic audience.

    11. Ryan on said:

      In this volume, Appiah investigates claims of indiviuality and identity as social categories and how an account of ethics that connects moral obligations with collective allegiances.

    12. Trey on said:

      Very good book. Who better to write about identity than a gay black guy? Honestly the only book about identity that I can really fully enjoy.

    13. caitlin on said:

      I've been reading this book in waves for about two years. take what you can from that.

    14. Jesse on said:

      read this book to understand contemporary identity politics!! his best book

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