Skip to content

Best Weapon Against Honor Killers: Shame

September 28, 2010

Kwame Anthony Appiah in WSJ:

Honor has a lot to answer for. Consider the thousand or so women in Pakistan who are murdered each year by relatives in the name of family honor. These murders are not endorsed by the state of Pakistan. They are illegal. Nor do they have the sanction of Islam. Any number of Islamic scholars, mullahs and ayatollahs have declared honor killings to be contrary to their religion.

Alas, it is not uncommon for honor to trump even the combined might of morality, law and religion. Many abhorrent customs, from slavery to suttee, have drawn strength from the sentiment. Yet, for those who aim to bring such customs to an end, honor is not just a problem; it also may provide a solution.

Among moral philosophers, the idea of honor—of earning the respect of people whose judgment you care about—is not riding high these days. It has an uncomfortable connection to old hierarchical codes at odds with our democratic values. Its appeal seems primal, pre-rational. Wouldn’t it be nice to think that rational moral argument, not this antiquated legacy of our carnage-ridden past, could be the engine of moral progress? [More]

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s