Kwame Anthony Appiah, Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University, delivers the 50th Anniversary Annual Berlin Lecture.
Professor Appiah writes "In the talk I want to urge people, whatever places they think of as home, to recognize the ways in which much of what we care about most deeply is profoundly etched with influences from elsewhere. Shakespeare’s leading characters, outside the history plays, are Romans, Danes, Greeks. He learns about them from Roman authors; he absorbs the sonnet, an Italian poetic form. Goethe writes the West-östlicher Divan, inspired by a Persian poet. Some of Grimms’ fairy tales derive from Sanskrit sources.
“I am writing to you from Italy: can one imagine pasta now without the tomatoes that came from the New World?”
I want to explore some of these questions in part through thinking about Herder, about whom Isaiah Berlin wrote so persuasively, but also in a more practical way by reflecting on how a cosmopolitan perspective can be encouraged in higher education."