Philosophical Reflections

Monday, September 18, 2006

By Ruth Groenhout

We meet for class in a classroom designated for the Calvin Program, lodged in the Institute for African Studies. The room just barely fits sixteen students and an instructor, but it contains an air conditioner, and reasonably comfortable seating, and it’s nice to have a space we can call our own.

In our “Justice and the Common Good” class we’ve been reading Kwame Anthony Appiah’s “Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers” and thinking together about what it means to treat people with respect and dignity when we have deep cultural or philosophical differences. It’s been a perfect book to read in Ghana, as many of the examples focus specifically on Ghanaian customs and beliefs. Students find themselves talking through issues with their room mates, or with folks at church, and it has enriched our discussions enormously.

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