“On Being” rather than “on campaigning”: Kwame Anthony Appiah on moral engagement

Home / blog / “On Being” rather than “on campaigning”: Kwame Anthony Appiah on moral engagement

As an alternative to the 24 hour “news” cycles regarding the presidential campaigns, I offer you selected “On Being” conversations; today, Kwame Anthony Appiah.  This show originally aired in 2011 and one area of concern was the then-current political rancor.  Mr. Appiah’s ideas and suggestions were much needed in 2011; now that need seems to have increased three-fold.  As always, I appreciate Mr. Appiah’s humble, human admission that he finds his own recommendations challenging.

Sidling Up to Difference: Kwame Anthony Appiah on Social Change and Moral Revolutions

Especially useful at this time of great social divisions on many public issues.  Mr. Appiah suggests that rather than tackling the hard issues/areas of difference first, we begin talking with people on non-consequential issues or areas where we agree—a sports team we root for, book we love, etc.  Once we like the person and see their humaneness, there is more space for the challenging conversations.  He also reminds us how much more likely we are to accept a disliked outcome if we feel we our perspective was heard and understood, that we have been a full participant in the process.

From “On Being” website: How can unimaginable social change happen in a world of strangers? Kwame Anthony Appiah is a philosopher who studies ethics and his parents’ marriage helped inspire the movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. In a tense moment in American life, he has refreshing advice on simply living with difference.

I also recommend Mr. Appiah’s book, The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen.


Photo courtesy of Gellinger at Pixabay.com

Alexandra Marchosky
Alexandra Marchosky
I coach individuals and organizations to do and be better by more fully living their values.
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