U.Va. Invites Princeton Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah for Three Lectures on Honor and Society

March 23, 2009 — Noted philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah of Princeton University will turn his academic attention to "Honor and Moral Change" in the Page-Barbour and James W. Richard Lecture series, giving talks March 31, April 1 and April 2 at the University of Virginia.

All three lectures, free and open to the public, will be given from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Harrison-Small Special Collections Library Auditorium. A reception will follow each lecture.

Appiah grew up in Ghana, the child of a Ghanian father who was a lawyer and politician and a British mother with roots in royalty who wrote children's books. The Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy and a faculty member of the University Center for Human Values at Princeton, Appiah was voted one of the world's leading public intellectuals by Prospect magazine and is known for his publications on race, identity, liberalism and the methodology of ethics. 

His scholarly interests include philosophy of mind and language, African and African-American intellectual history and political philosophy. Among his books are "Experiments in Ethics" (2008), "The Ethics of Identity" (2004), "Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy" (2003), "Color Conscious: The Political Morality of Race" (1996, with Amy Gutmann) and "In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture" (1992). He also writes novels and poetry.

Appiah will speak about the role of ideas of honor in a number of historically important moments of moral change.

The individual lectures are "The Duel Dies" on March 31, "Unbinding Chinese Feet" on April 1 and "The Life of Honor" on April 2. 

For information, contact Walter Jost at wpj@virginia.edu. The lecture series also has a Facebook page.

About the Page-Barbour and James W. Richard Lectures

The Page-Barbour lectures were founded in 1907 by Mrs. Thomas Nelson Page and the topics covered ranged across all fields in the arts and sciences. Past Page-Barbour lecturers include T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, John Dewey, Alfred North Whitehead, William Howard Taft, Walter Lippman, B.F. Skinner, Leo Straus, C. Vann Woodward, Northrop Frye, Robert Coles, Richard Rorty and Freeman Dyson. The closely related James W. Richard lectures, which focus on topics in history and/or religion, were initiated in 1923 and have featured such thinkers as Etienne Gilson, Paul Tillich, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Jaroslav Pelikan, Jacob Neusner, Paul Ricoeur, Edmund Morgan and Quentin Skinner.

— By Anne Bromley