Who is Kwame Anthony Appiah? This is a question that he addresses with some frequency in his writings and lectures. He often reminds his intellectually heterogeneous audiences, which include lawyers, literary critics, museum-goers, and others, that he's first and foremost a philosopher. To this self-description, we might add the adjective "analytic." His earliest books were highly technical engagements with the philosophy of language, Assertion and Conditionals (1985) and For Truth in Semantics (1986). Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy (2003) focuses on canonical areas of analytic philosophy, such as philosophy of mind, language, and science. Some of his later books, such as Experiments in Ethics (2008) and As If: Idealization and Ideals (2017), extend philosophy's reach with knowledge culled from psychology and the social sciences. But Appiah may be best known for the even wider compass of his elegant, eclectic, world-traversing meditations on race, nation, culture, and social identity—hardly the traditional fare of analytic philosophy. "I have spent a good deal of my scholarly life," he reflects, "trying to get my fellow philosophers to recognize both the theoretical and the practical importance of things that they may have taken too little notice of: race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, nationality and religion . . . all of the rich social identities with which we make our lives."


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