What is your question?

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

 

 

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

European wind farms could meet global energy demand, researchers now say

A new study estimated the untapped potential of wind energy across Europe.

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • A new report calculated how much electricity Europe could generate if it built onshore wind farms on all of its exploitable land.
  • The results indicated that European onshore wind farms could supply the whole world with electricity from now until 2050.
  • Wind farms come with a few complications, but the researchers noted that their study was meant to highlight the untapped potential of the renewable energy source in Europe.
Keep reading Show less

First solar roadway in France turned out to be a 'total disaster'

French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.

Image source: Charly Triballeau / AFP / Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
  • French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
  • Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.
Keep reading Show less

New vaccine (for cats) nixes allergic reactions for humans

You want one. Now you may be able to survive one.


Photo credit: Jie Zhao
/ Getty contributor
Technology & Innovation
  • Cats live in a quarter of Western households.
  • Allergies to them are common and can be dangerous.
  • A new approach targets the primary trouble-causing allergen.
Keep reading Show less