Synopses & Reviews
Long neglected as an engine of reform, honor strikingly emerges at the center of our modern world in Kwame Anthony Appiah's The Honor Code. Over the last few centuries, new democratic movements have led to the emancipation of women, slaves, and the oppressed. But what drove these modern changes, Appiah argues, was not imposing legislation from above, but harnessing the ancient power of honor from within. In gripping detail, he explores the end of the duel in aristocratic England, the tumultuous struggles over footbinding in nineteenth-century China, and the uprising of ordinary people against Atlantic slavery. Finally, he confronts the horrors of honor killing in contemporary Pakistan, where rape victims are murdered by their relatives. He argues that honor, used to justify the practice, can also be the most effective weapon against it. Intertwining philosophy and historical narrative, Appiah has created a remarkably dramatic work, which demonstrates that honor is the driving force in the struggle against man's inhumanity to man.
"Appiah lays out a concept that is not only compelling in its own right but also suggests a connection that may in time help to collate biological and cultural exploration of human morality." Edward O. Wilson, author of Sociobiology
"This book is essential for us--inescapable in its urgent relevance to the embattled human morality we live within our codes of the present." Nadine Gordimer, author of Telling Times
"A deeply insightful exposition of the dangers, the potential and the (perhaps) ineradicable role of the human sense of honor." Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, McGill University
"What causes moral progress? In this brilliant book, Appiah casts light on the role played by honor. Even though it's sometimes distorted, as with honor killings in Pakistan, this classical concept can be a lode star in guiding us to a better future. It's an amazing and fascinating insight. This is an indispensable book for both moral philosophers and honorable citizens." Walter Isaacson, author of < em=""> Einstein: His Life and Universe < m="">
In this groundbreaking work, Kwame Anthony Appiah, hailed as "one of the most relevant philosophers today" (), changes the way we understand human behavior and the way social reform is brought about. In brilliantly arguing that new democratic movements over the last century have not been driven by legislation from above, Appiah explores the end of the duel in aristocratic England, the tumultuous struggles over footbinding in nineteenth-century China, the uprising of ordinary people against Atlantic slavery, and the horrors of "honor killing" in contemporary Pakistan. Intertwining philosophy and historical narrative, he has created "a fascinating study of moral evolution" () that demonstrates the critical role honor plays a in the struggle against man's inhumanity to man.
"[Appiah's] work reveals the heart and sensitivity of a novelist. . . .Fascinating, erudite and beautifully written."--
About the Author
Kwame Anthony Appiah, the president of the PEN American Center, is the author of The Ethics of Identity, Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy, The Honor Code, and the prize-winning Cosmopolitanism. Raised in Ghana and educated in England, he has taught philosophy on three continents and is currently a professor at Princeton University.