Princeton philosophy professor Kwame Anthony Appiah offers a large and much-needed dose of good sense in this cover story in today’s New York Times Magazine. Striking many of the same important themes running through Tyler Cowen’s book In Praise of Commercial Culture, Appiah makes a powerful case against those who would restrict freedom to trade in the name of protecting cultures. Coming down squarely on the side of individual freedom and cosmopolitanism, he ask: "What’s really important, then, cultures or people?" His answer is ‘people.’
I can’t wait for Appiah’s forthcoming book to hit the store shelves. It’s a tract on cosmopolitanism, entitled Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. He’s an able proponent of cosmopolitanism. I especially like this insight:
Cosmopolitans believe in universal truth, too, though we are less
certain that we already have all of it. It is not skepticism about the
very idea of truth that guides us; it is realism about how hard the
truth is to find.
(Hat tip to Gerry Ohrstrom.)