Honor, Citizenship, and the Law |

Honor, Citizenship, and the Law

Evening Talk


My general theme is what I will be calling “civic honor.” I want to explore the role of honor, and its negative counterpart, shame, in the civic life of democracies. The account begins with an insight that I learned from the anthropologist Frank Henderson Stewart: Honor is fundamentally about rights to respect. To honor a person is to treat her as entitled to respect. If you recognize yourself as honorable, you will have self-respect, paying yourself the respect that is your due. The character of the respect due, how one displays that respect, and what gains and loses you these rights to respect: all these are culturally variable. But the structure of honor—rights to respect assigned by social norms or conventions, an honor code—is, I think, a human universal. That is why we can talk about honor pretty much everywhere. And why it is available, perhaps surprisingly, to shape our democratic life.

Prof. Kwame Anthony Appiah

Professor of Philosophy and Law, New York University

Prof. Kwame Akroma-Ampim Kusi Anthony Appiah is a British-born Ghanaian-American philosopher, cultural theorist, and novelist whose interests include political and moral theory, the philosophy of language and mind, and African intellectual history. He was educated at Cambridge University, where he received the BA and the PhD in philosophy.

Chair Person:

Prof. Kanti Prasad Bajpai, Director, Centre on Asia and Globalisation and Wilmar Professor on Asian Studies, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

5.15 pm - 6.30 pm


Seminar Room 3-1,
Manasseh Meyer,
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy,
469C Bukit Timah Road,
Singapore 259772

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