Made of Honor

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kwame Anthony Appiah, PEN American Center president, professor of philosophy at Princeton University, and author of The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen, talks about his new book and what drives moral progress.


Kwame Anthony Appiah

Comments [6]

Milos from Queens, NY

This is definitely a male phenomenon. Even Dr. Appiah's claim that women's honor is attached to virginity is a male judgment. As a woman I have never had a single conversation on this subject with other women, and it has always seemed a singularly stupid and superficial motivation for doing anything. I believe it stems from the power of the male ego, which needs to be assuaged at all times, even when making ethical decisions. Acting solely out of compassionate and empathy is viewed by men as weak and feminine, but if honor can be added into the mix, then the actor is worthy of praise and admiration because he has done something "noble." Gah.

Oct. 28 2010 11:25 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The concept of "honor" is a strong part of a warrior culture, where one's place in society emanates from one's prowess on the battlefield. The aristocracies justified their status and entitlements to land and privilege based on the grants given to their ancestral warrior chiefs.

Peoples who did not have land, and hence had no land to physically defend, and whose existence was based on law, and knowledge thereof, such as the Jews for example, status and honor was based on how wise and how much knowledge of the Law one had. The court was the battlefield, and so the abstract concept of "honor" as was established in normal warrior cultures, does not exist in the Jewish psyche, for example. One's honor was based on fastidiousness to the Law, and pious one is percieved to be. The concept of "sainthood" came from the Jewish concept of "tzaddikim" where a "tzaddik" is a very selfless, peaceful, pious person who pleas for the weak and defenseless, rather than exhibition of physical prowess and the ability to physically bring down an enemy.

Oct. 28 2010 11:22 AM
charles harris from island hts nj

Honor is also a shield--you insult me at the risk of your life!

It's carried over by kids ending an argument ":i'll meet yuou after school"

Oct. 28 2010 11:20 AM

Read something interesting recently, that in France, where duelling was far more rampant than in Britain, it was women who put the pressure on the lawmakers to forbid men to wear their swords in public. Just a point of interest.

Oct. 28 2010 11:15 AM
Catherine from Rockville Centre

Do men care more about honor than women do?

Oct. 28 2010 11:13 AM

they say this is a christian nation but I never see it. where is the compassion? all I see is greed.
bush claimed to be a christian. I take him at his word, but his actions never seemed to be very christian to me

Oct. 28 2010 10:11 AM

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