Author(s): Kwame Anthony Appiah
Honour emerges at the centre 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. What drove these modern changes, Appiah argues, was not imposing legislation from above but harnessing the ancient power of honour from within. He explores the end of the duel in 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 "honour killing" in contemporary Pakistan, where rape victims are murdered by their relatives. He argues that honour, used to justify the practice, can also be the most effective weapon against it. Intertwining philosophy and historical narrative, Appiah has created a dramatic work, which demonstrates that honour is the driving force in the struggle against man's inhumanity to man.
"He [Appiah] sounds an urbane and civilised note when discussing what are often raucous and rancorous issues. But the civilised note is quietly compelling, and never more so than in this latest book." The Guardian "...it's good to be able to salute writing whose message is of hope, progress and moral courage...The Honor Code is not, strictly speaking, a history book, but rather a work of social and moral philosophy which draws on historical evidence...The message is that morality matters, and social action can change things for the better." Stephen Howe, The Independent Christmas Books 2010 "Among the books which have found a particular place in my mind, and heart, this year are several by dear colleagues at Princeton. These include The Honor Code...Appiah is a beautiful stylist, who ranges over an extraordinary array of topics in which the notion of "honour" may be relevant either to an individual or a society." Paul Muldoon, Books of the Year 2010, The Times Literary Supplement "This [The Honor Code] is in so many ways a brilliant book." New Humanist
Kwame Anthony Appiah is the president of the PEN American Center. Born in Ghana and educated in Britain, he has taught philosophy on three continents and is currently a professor at Princeton University. He is the author of Cosmopolitanism (ISBN 978 0 393 32933 9). Author website: www.appiah.net