The Ethicist Answers His Own Question

Kwame Anthony Appiah relaunches with flair.

NYTMag_10_4This weekend’s edition of The New York Times Magazine marks the debut of the latest revamped version of The Ethicist column. With a wink and a nod, the author – who was part of the previous, three-headed incarnation – kicks things off by talking to himself:

I’ve just been asked to take on a column that deals with ethical quandaries. Is there anything I should let readers know? KWAME ANTHONY APPIAH

You again? Well, let’s see. First, I would want readers to know that I’m very conscious of my fallibility. I’ll try to think these cases through carefully on the basis of the facts that are available to me. At some point, I’ll miss things you will think obvious, or I’ll say things you will think wrong. Second, there will always be more to say, more nuance to be achieved. One definition of a philosopher is someone who thinks that what goes without saying goes even better with saying. Whenever you think I should have said more, please remember that you could have been begging me to say less. Finally, a plea: Do send in your most challenging quandaries, whether grave or trivial. Hard cases make bad law, we’re told, but they also make for interesting discussions.

Well done. From there, Appiah addresses dilemmas involving the burial of a woman’s ashes and a library collection that is being downsized.

Previously on FishbowlNY:
A Major Political Scandal Brews… via The Ethicists