Facing History and Ourselves hosted a Day of Learning "Reimagining Self and Others" at Harvard Law School on May 10, 2013. This is a liveblog of the opening presentation by Anthony Appiah, a philosopher at Princeton University, whose latest book is The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen.
Appiah begins by framing the ethics of diversity with motivating questions that go back to Aristotle's ethics: 1) What is it for a life to go well? 2) What is human well-being? These are tied to Aristotle's concept of eudaimonia, which is poorly translated as 'happiness' but is more robust, representing the successful life, or flourishing life.
To work through the ethics of diversity, Appiah suggests three ethical principles:
- Everybody matters (this was not true in Aristotle's Athens, he only spoke of free, adult males)
- We owe everyone respect for their human dignity: we must bear in mind the facts about them that should shape how we treat them
- Each person is in charge of managing his or her own life