Saturday, October 23, 2010

How does repugnance change over time?

Kwame Anthony Appiah's latest book proposes it has something to do with honor:  The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen.

Here's a book review from Slate:
The Unappreciated Power of Honor: How it has driven moral progress in the past, and still can.

Update: and here's a NY Times Sunday Magazine article: The Art of Social Change By KWAME ANTHONY APPIAH, focusing on the relative success of the movement to abolish foot binding in China, compared to the movement against female genital cutting in Africa.

"A second essential reason for the campaign’s success was that it created institutions; it didn’t content itself with rhetoric. In particular, it created organizations whose members publicly pledged two things: not to bind their daughters’ feet and not to allow their sons to marry women whose feet were bound. The genius of this strategy was that it created both unbound women and men who would marry them. To reform tradition, you had to change the shared commitments of a community. If Chinese families bound their daughters’ feet because that was the normal thing to do, you had to change what was normal. "

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