Here are my notes from Dr. Appiah's lecture:
- honor - treat someone as if they're worthy of respect
- only gentlemen can duel
- an honorable person cares about being worthy of respect
- some acts are worthy of honor; military honor
- we need to agree on civic honor codes
- develop a sense of what we think is worthy of honor
- democracy --> managing the republic together
- honor killings
- footbinding was a source of national shame
- in order to end one practice, you have to start another
Firstly, I had a hard time following the path of the lecture due to its philosophical nature. Although I've attended only two philosophy lectures in my lifetime, this and Professor Rickman's Plato's Republic, I noticed a connection between the two. I realized that in order to present a philosophy, one lays out certain givens in a field of knowledge and then proceeds to present theories about the interactions of those givens to convey an ultimate theory, or philosophy. Because of this form and because Dr. Appiah knew what he was talking about and I didn't, it was difficult to follow his process of proof and evidence in a lecture setting. He moved along quickly and spoke of things that he theorized to be true in a certain situation, leaving me a little removed from the reality that he was creating and trying to catch up for most of the hour.
I wasn't completely facedown in the dirt though. I thought his theories about the definition of honor and where it should be given were interesting. Honor isn't something I usually put a lot of importance on, so it was engaging to hear someone discuss it at such length and in detail. I liked his idea that in order for the citizens of a democracy to healthily manage the republic together, they must agree on certain civic honor codes that govern their interactions and dealings. This seems like a healthy way for people to get along in a society together. I think most, though, I took to heart his theory that honor is given to someone who is worthy of respect. This idea of "honor" seems so BIG and ROYAL but I think it can apply to my everyday life in choosing who I surround myself with and how I interact with them.
Learn more about Kwame Anthony Appiah's theories of Honor Code.