Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers.

Author:Bryant, Aaron
Position:Brief article - Book review
 
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Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers by Kwame Anthony Appiah W.W. Norton & Company, January 2006 $23.95, ISBN 0-393-06155-8

Imagine a mirror falls and shatters. The mirror can reflect an entire image, but its shattered pieces can only capture fragments of the whole. Now imagine the mirror is a metaphor for the world and each shattered piece represents a nation or community. Fragments have different shapes and fit into the mirror in different ways, yet each piece reflects a unique perspective that is necessary to creating a worldview.

This is the basic premise behind Kwame Anthony Appiah's Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. The book is relatively short but is large in its ideas, as the author explores "cosmopolitanism" a principle covered in his previous book, The Ethics of Identity, (Princeton University Press, 2005).

Appiah suggests we go beyond tolerance and tribalism to accept responsibility for the impact we have on the lives of people we know, as well as the lives of people we don't know. Human life and the beliefs and practices that give each life significance have value. These ideas...

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