CWRU’s 2013 Distinguished Lecturer Kwame Anthony Appiah to discuss honesty and morality in today’s world

News Release: Monday, February 18, 2013

What place do honor and morality have in a world where identity is too often defined by race, ethnicity, religion and nationalism?

Princeton University philosopher, cultural theorist and author Kwame Anthony Appiah will share his thoughts on the subject during the 2013 F. Joseph Callahan Distinguished Lecture at Case Western Reserve University. His lecture, “Moral Matters,” is free and open to the public on Monday, March 18, at 5:30 p.m. in Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Ave.

Appiah’s talk draws on his latest book, The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen. He considers honor and morality separate entities, and that social reforms evolve more from honor than understanding the true nature of morality.

Appiah is the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton, and serves as president of the PEN American Center that supports literary and human rights activities. He has written or contributed to nearly a dozen books, including In My Father’s House and The Dictionary of Global Culture and Africana (with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.).

In another recent book, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, Appiah challenges his readers to transcend real or imagine boundaries that divide people and focus instead on common humanity.

Appiah was born in London and grew up in Ghana, the son of a lawyer/politician and an English novelist and children’s writer. He earned a PhD in philosophy at Cambridge University and joined the Princeton faculty in 2002. He is a 2012 National Humanities Medal winner and, in 2007, Cosmopolitan won the Arthur Ross Book Award, presented for outstanding contribution to international relations. Appiah also was honored with the prestigious Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1993 for his collection of essays “In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture.”

Appiah joins a roster of prominent speakers who have participated in Case Western Reserve’s annual Distinguished Lecture event since its debut in 2005. Previous speakers have included noted Harvard University psychologist and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jared Diamond, Kay Redfield Jamison, an international authority on mood disorders and New York Times best-selling authors Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband.

The F. Joseph Callahan Distinguished Lecture honors Cleveland-area business leader, philanthropist and chairman emeritus of Swagelok, Francis Joseph Callahan Jr.

For information, call 216.368.3189 or visit

Posted by: Susan Griffith, February 18, 2013 01:25 PM | News Topics: Official Release