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August 15, 2006


GREAT BARRINGTON, MA — Simon's Rock College has announced that Kwame Anthony Appiah, author of Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, will discuss his work in an evening program, on Monday, August 21 at 7 p.m., in the McConnell Theater. The public is welcome and admission is free.

Kwame Anthony Appiah's book was chosen as this year's Book One, the first book that incoming students read over the summer before entering Simon's Rock. The Book One is chosen based on both its quality and its suitability for promoting interdisciplinary conversations about the intersection of cultures, says Academic Dean Samuel Ruhmkorff. The author presents his ideas to the students who have read the book and who will use it in parts of their intensive weeklong Writing and Thinking Workshop, the unique orientation program at Simon's Rock. This year's Book One was selected by a faculty committee after consideration of nominations from all parts of the college community.

Cosmopolitanism, published this year, explores the tensions between group identity and individualism, being grounded in one's heritage and being a citizen of the world, of ethical relativism and universalism.

Says Rushworth Kidder for the Christian Science Monitor: "Deftly, and with wide scholarship lightly applied, this small but alluring book demolishes a key tenet of relativism, which Appiah describes as "the basic suspicion that moral claims just reflect local preferences" rather than universal truths.

Foreign Affairs has this to say of Cosmopolitanism: "In this inspiring meditation on global ethics, the eminent political philosopher Appiah poses old questions made urgent by globalization: What does it mean to be a citizen of the world? What do we owe strangers by virtue of our shared humanity? Appiah's answers emerge in an engrossing synthesis of autobiography, history, literature, and philosophy. The author's own personal story – son of an African father and English mother, raised in Ghana, educated in the United Kingdom – nicely fits the border-crossing themes of the book, the central goal of which is to rethink the moral principles of cosmopolitanism, the centuries-old tradition that rejects tribalism and nationalism in favor of a wider embrace of human community. Two strands of cosmopolitan thinking – one that stresses global obligations, one that celebrates local differences – help frame the tension between preserving local values and communities and seeking universal standards." (John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs, May/June 2006)

Dr. Appiah is Laurence S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. He has taught at Cambridge, Yale, Cornell, Duke, and Harvard universities. He is the author of many books, edited volumes, and articles, with work ranging from political philosophy (Color Conscious: The Political Morality of Race); to philosophy of language (Assertion and Conditionals, For Truth in Semantics); to fiction (Another Death in Venice); to African Studies (In My Father's House).

Professor Appiah will be addressing the incoming class, other members of the Simon's Rock College community, participants in the Early College Teaching Seminar, and the Berkshire community. All are welcome.

Simon's Rock Media Contact:
Briee Della Rocca: 413 644-4706