How Do We Swing Honor Around?

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Can we make the world a better place if we change the way people think about honor? This is the question philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah explores in this smart, three-minute short film. He gives several examples of how customs that were once considered a matter of honor — challenging someone to a duel or foot-binding small girls — persisted for thousands of years but ceased after a few decades.

But why? Only when the fundamental dialogue in society is based on respect, Appiah says, can we change the way accepted practices, such as honor killings, are viewed by the people who carry them out.

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