What is your question?

Maybe we should re-evaluate the whole idea of certainty.
  • Transcript


Kwame Anthony Appiah: Well it goes back, I think, to the epistemological problem that I think we face as creatures in our world.

One question that I think is always useful to ask in political context is: If I am so sure I’m right, how come she’s so sure she’s right too? If it’s obvious what to me the answer is; if the answer’s obvious, why isn’t it obvious to the other person?

And I think just that sort of turn taking – walking in the other man’s moccasins kind of thing, of saying: Well I’m so sure I’m right about this, and yet here are these other people who don’t think what I think. How is that? Are they just fools or irrational? Or is there some part of reality that’s hidden from them? Or could it be that I ought to reflect more carefully on what I think, and listen a bit more to what they have to say.

So that’s a kind of question you’d expect from a philosopher. It’s a question you asked me; a question about questions. It’s an answer about answers. It’s an answer about questions about questions.

But I think that it is a useful perspective to adopt given the conflicts that we have in the world today about many important matters.

Recorded on: July 31 2007