A pioneering scholar of African and African American studies, Kwame Anthony Appiah rose to prominence as the author of thoughtful and provocative books on the complexities of modern society, including Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (2006), The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen (2010), and The Lies that Bind: Rethinking Identity (2018). Since 2015, he has gained a wide following for the clear, discerning insights he offers every week as “The Ethicist.”
Raised first in Ghana and later in Britain, Professor Appiah earned both his BA and PhD in philosophy from the University of Cambridge. He has lectured widely around the world and taught at Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Duke, and the University of Ghana, as well as serving for more than a decade on the faculty at Princeton. He is now a professor of philosophy and law at New York University.
Professor Appiah’s work has been in the philosophy of mind and language, ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of art, of culture, and of the social sciences, especially anthropology; as well as in literary studies, where he has focused on African and African American literature. He has served as President of the Modern Language Association (2016) and the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association (2007); Chair of the APA Board (2008–2011); and on the boards of the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the New York Public Library, the Public Theater, and the PEN American Center. In 2012, President Obama presented him with the National Humanities Medal. In addition to those referenced above, his publications include Lines of Descent: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Emergence of Identity and As If: Idealization and Ideals, along with three novels, one set at his alma mater, Clare College.
Photo: Courtesy of Professor Appiah