John Templeton Foundation

Kwame Anthony Appiah
Robert Axelrod
Steven J. Brams
John E. Hare
Dominic D.P. Johnson
Ehud Kalai
Eric S. Maskin
Martin A. Nowak
Barry O’Neill
Elinor Ostrom
Thomas C. Schelling
Karl Sigmund
Brian Skyrms
Robert Sugden

 
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A philosopher internationally acclaimed for his work in political and moral theory, the philosophy of language and mind, and African and African-American intellectual history, Kwame Anthony Appiah is the Laurence S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. He is also a novelist. Dr. Appiah writes about issues of personal formation, multiculturalism, and nationalism. His critique of large collective identities exposes threats to freedom and community, and he has increasingly argued for an “ethical universal” that transcends social fragmentation and bridges differences amongst us. Born in London, a child of mixed ancestry, he grew up in Ghana, his father’s country, during its first days of independence and returned to England, home of his mother’s family, to complete his secondary education at the Bryanston School. He went on to study at Clare College, Cambridge, where he took first class honors, and earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Cambridge University in 1982. Dr. Appiah’s teaching career has been pursued largely in American universities. He went to Yale as an assistant professor of philosophy and Afro-American studies in 1981 and was promoted to associate professor four years later. He moved on to Cornell, where he had been a Junior Fellow in the Society for the Humanities during his last year on the Yale faculty, as a visiting associate professor in 1986 and was named a professor of philosophy in 1989. The next year he accepted appointment as professor of philosophy and literature at Duke University, and in 1991, he went to Harvard as professor of Afro-American studies and philosophy. He was named to the Charles H. Carswell Professorship in 1999, a post he held until taking up his present position at Princeton five years ago. Dr. Appiah has given numerous invited lectures throughout the United States and in Canada, England, France, Germany, Ghana, and South Africa. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, he has held Woodrow Wilson, Andrew W. Mellon, and Walter Channing Cabot fellowships. He is the recipient of honorary degrees from the University of Richmond, Colgate University, Bard College, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Swarthmore College. Currently chair of the board of the American Council of Learned Societies and president of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association, he is also a member of the visiting committee of the Harvard University Libraries. He previously served as an editor or on the editorial boards of fifteen scholarly journals and presently serves as advisory editor of Critical Studies in Black Life and Culture, as an editorial consultant to African Philosophical Inquiry, on the editorial boards of Perspectives in Auditing and Information Systems and Ethnic and Racial Studies, and as publisher of Transition. In addition to more than 125 articles published in academic journals and essays in volumes of collected works, he has served as editor or co-editor of nineteen books, including (with Henry Louis Gates) Africana: The Encyclopedia of African and African-American Experience (2005), and, most recently, (with Martin Bunzl) Buying Freedom, which was published by Princeton University Press in 2007. Dr. Appiah is the author or co-author of fourteen other books, including three novels. His first two monographs, Assertion and Conditions (1985) and For Truth in Semantics (1986), were on specialized topics in the field of language and logic. They were followed by Necessary Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy (1989), a textbook that remains widely-read in a revised version, Thinking It Through (2003). But the book for which he is best known and for which he won both the Annisfield-Wolf Book Award and the Herskovits Award of the African Studies Association is In My Father’s House (1992), an analysis of Africa’s struggle for self-definition in a world dominated by Western values in which he examines cultural issues through the lens of technical philosophy. Written with Amy Gutmann, his next book, the prize-winning Color Consciousness: The Political Morality of Race (1996), focuses on African-Americans, and in it, Dr. Appiah concludes that the “concept of race” is intellectually empty, though he also addresses the gap between what he considers cognitive truth and the historic reality of life in America. His second co-authored book, an annotated edition of 7,500 proverbs in the language of the Asante entitled Bu Me Bé: The Proverbs of the Akan (2002), was a collaboration with his mother, the novelist and children’s writer Peggy (Margaret Cripps) Appiah. It was followed by a widely-acclaimed study, The Ethics of Identity (2005), in which Dr. Appiah connects the moral obligations of individuals with collective allegiances. His most recent book, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, which was published last year by W. W. Norton and (in London) Allen Lane and won the Arthur Ross Book Award of the Council on Foreign Relations, outlines the ancient, humane philosophy, advanced first by the Cynics in Greece, of “world citizenship” and its potential to usher in an era of global understanding. A new book, Experiments in Ethics, based on his 2005 Flexner Lectures at Bryn Mawr College, will be published this fall by Harvard University Press.