Essay about The Honor Code

1339 Words Dec 5th, 2016 6 Pages
A large subsection of cosmopolitanism is the power of external public shaming, and the power of shame to shape the behaviors of cultures. This is also the part of cosmopolitanism that can be applied more broadly to societies than to individuals. In his book, The Honor Code, Appiah offers various examples about the connected roles that shame and honor have respectively in guiding the morality of different cultures, and how these influences change over time through external forces which evaluate and judge the practices of that particular society. The reason he gives for honor having enough weight to influence behavior to such an extent is “our deep and persistent concern with status and respect, our human need for what Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel called Anerkennung¬—¬recognition” (Honor xiii). This theory about honor connects to a psychological notion that human beings are social creatures and depend on social connections and interactions for a large part of our own self worth. Appiah goes on to say that “we human beings need others to respond appropriately to who we are and to what we do. We need others to recognize us as conscious and to acknowledge that we recognize them” (Honor xiii). Not only do humans need to be recognized, but we must also have our actions affirmed, a theory which Appiah applies not only to individuals, but to collective honor as well.
This idea of honor is not entirely removed from his cosmopolitan standards concerning morals, and Appiah explains…

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