« The Family Stone | Main | Book Review »

Happy 2006


Wishing you all the best for the New Year.

Please take a few minutes to read Kwame Anthony Appiah's essay, appearing in today's Times Magazine, "The Case For Contamination: Toward a New Cosmopolitanism."

To say what, in principle, distinguishes the cosmopolitan from competing universalisms, we plainly need to go beyond talk of truth and tolerance. Cosmopolitans think that there are many values worth living by and that you cannot live by all of them. [Italics added] So we hope and expect that different people and different societies will embody different values. Another aspect of cosmopolitanism is what philosophers call fallibilism - the sense that our knowledge is imperfect, provisional, subject to revision in the face of new evidence.

Aside from a very small number of precepts concerning what one human being can and cannot do to another, I recognize no absolute truths. We so obviously have neither the information nor the understanding that absolute truths presuppose. A taste for certain knowledge is the hallmark of anxiety in the face of life's barrage of experience; it is a sign of immaturity. I remember so well the flush of pleasure that I felt as a student in the pursuit of metaphysical certainties; I should be degraded by such a feeling now.


TrackBack URL for this entry:


Happy new year, RJ!

Happy new year! As I'm running a fever, I have no use for Champagne at this time...

Dear RJ,

Happy New Year! Go to my blog and you'll see how we brought it in. We got Caroline a new used car -- she needed it badly.

I read an essay written by Dorothy Sayers ostensibly against feminism. Like Virginia Woolf who took a similar stance at the time, Sayers argues that to see people as representing some category is to be unreal and to treat them that way will easily turn into inhumanity.


I am a kottke.org micropatron

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2