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Kwame Anthony Appiah: the Cosmopolitan Philosopher

Note: This program was broadcast on WCAI, an affiliate of WGBH, Boston.

Kwame Anthony Appiah (Photo: Greg Martin)
Princeton Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah discusses cosmopolitanism on ThoughtCast!
Born in England and raised in Ghana, Appiah is half English and half African. And perhaps because of this, he’s fascinated with the concept of identity, and the power it wields over people. But rather than wage identity politics, Appiah encourages us instead to be good global citizens, interested in and accepting of each other. In short, cosmopolitan. But also, at least a little bit “contaminated”… Appiah’s written a book on the subject: it’s called Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers.

Click here: to listen. (42 minutes)

Posted on July 10, 2007 in Ideas, Philosophy, Politics
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Faith and Philosophy with Harvey Cox and Simon Blackburn

Note: this program was broadcast on the WGBH public radio sister stations WCAI/WNAN, on the Cape and Islands, and on WRNC-LP!

Harvey Cox
Simon Blackburn
In this half-hour, ThoughtCast talks with two very different men, with one thing in common — a belief in humanism. Harvey Cox, the renowned Harvard Divinity School Professor and author of The Secular City and When Jesus Came to Harvard, talks with ThoughtCast about his faith, and the religious resurgence taking place here in America and abroad. Cox has a unique take on Christianity — while he doubts the Resurrection, he celebrates the life of Jesus, and urges us all to follow in his footsteps, and take his teachings to the streets, to enact them in our flawed, real, and secular world.
Simon Blackburn on the other hand rejects religion but embraces the wisdom of philosophy. He too is an author — of Truth: A Guide, Think and Being Good, among others — and he teaches philosophy at the University of Cambridge, in England. What he offers is a philosophy that’s not just for the educated elite, but for the rest of us!

Click here: to listen (29 minutes)

And to listen to a WGBH Forum Network lecture moderated by Harvey Cox, on the Boston civil rights movement, click here!

Posted on June 8, 2007 in Harvard Luminaries, Ideas, Philosophy, Religion
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Economist Amartya Sen on “Identity and Violence”

Note: this interview was broadcast on WGBH Radio.  And here’s a PRX review of the program!

Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen, the distinguished economist, philosopher, Nobel laureate and Harvard professor, talks with ThoughtCast about “Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny.”

This new book examines the unfortunate connection between violence and our tendency to identify with one key trait — our ethnicity, or religion, for example — to the exclusion of all others. Sen argues that we can combat this tendency by rejecting this narrowly defined, limited sense of identity, and embracing a broader, richer and more complex understanding of ourselves.
Amartya Sen was born in West Bengal, India (now Bangladesh) and teaches economics at Harvard University. He is known in the wider world for his work on the causes of famines.
Note: Susan Wennemyr served as associate producer on this program.
Click here: to listen (28:30 minutes).
To listen to a panel on “Combating Global Poverty” that includes Sen, click here to access WGBH’s Forum Network.

Posted on November 19, 2006 in Economics, Harvard Luminaries, Ideas, Philosophy
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