Kwame Anthony Appiah—The Triumph of Liberalism

Philosophical Papers 30 (3):261-287 (2001)
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Kwame Anthony Appiah has devoted much scholarly work to exploring the problems surrounding racial and cultural identities in the USA. He defends the position that such identities need not be centrally significant in the psyche of the subject, and that black demands for blacks to be recognised as having a black (race) identity, is symptomatic of black racism. Like other racisms, black racism has a tendency to go imperial, affecting the autonomy of the individual to decide which identity constructs she is willing to endorse as her own. Appiah believes that free association, as the locus of social solidarities and the formation of individual and social identities, should be upheld as a counterweight to the imperialism of racisms in the USA. He believes, furthermore, that the cosmopolitan state best caters for free associations of this kind. In this article I offer a comprehensive view of Appiah's support for cosmopolitanism as the best answer to the problems of identity which race and culture generate in multicultural USA.



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Pieter Coetzee
Universität Gesamthochschule Kassel