Aspen Lecture: Conversation Across Cultures

There's a pervasive (and therefore familiar) form of relativism in the culture of educated Americans. Many believe that conversation across groups about ethical questions will quickly reach an impasse because each culture has different and incompatible ethical starting points from all the others. Cross-cultural conversation is pointless, then, because it is just a route to the discovery of irreconcilable differences. Appiah maintains that both the premise of this argument and the conclusion are mistaken. This is good news. First, as many people have reported, cross-cultural encounters are among the most rewarding experiences in the world. And second because without it, we have little chance of solving the many global problems that face us.

Festival: 2014

More on this Session

Watch and Listen: World

Most of us probably harbor preconceived notions about refugees. Maybe it’s a misunderstanding about what drove them... See more
The Trump Administration has said that “all options are on the table” in North Korea. What actually are the options,... See more
The Afternoon of Conversation is the Aspen Ideas Festival's signature event and hosts an audience of 2,000 in the... See more
Authoritarian populists are gaining power from Ankara to Athens, from Warsaw to Washington. Meanwhile, popular support... See more
This talk rethinks refugees as a potential economic benefit to the societies that host them, rather than simply passive... See more
It’s been called one of the worst self-inflicted political wounds of modern times. British Prime Minister Theresa May,... See more