Kwame Anthony Appiah's Whose Culture Is It Anyway? Essay

Kwame Anthony Appiah's Whose Culture Is It Anyway? Essay

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Discussion of “Whose Culture Is It, Anyway?” by Appiah
Kwame Anthony Appiah argued that objects of cultural are of potential value to all human beings, holding an opinion of a universal ownership of cultural objects and the on-going appropriations underwritten by such claims. However, his support for pan-human ownership of cultural artifacts and cosmopolitanism are questionable. I sustain a “property” perspective on cultural artifacts and believe that the cosmopolitanism should be based on peace and development of humanity.
I. The Author’s Point
In “Whose Culture Is It, Anyway? ”, Kwame Anthony Appiah begins by pointing out that some of the museums of the world, particularly in the West, have large collections of artefacts and objects which were robbed from developing and poor countries. He then raises a question: who owns these cultural patrimony and properties? Our first answer may be that since they make up the cultural heritage of a people, they belong to the people and culture from whom they were taken. Appiah has doubt about this and argues that if some cultural artefacts are potentially valuable to all human beings, they should belong to all of humanity. He thinks that when they make contribution to world culture, they should be protected by being made available to those who would benefit from experiencing them and put into trusteeship of humanity.
In particular, when discussing the possession of cultural heritage, Appiah believes that from the point of view of cosmopolitanism, cultural and artistic objects do not belong to a particular nation or country, because artists absorbed the essence of diversified civilization and culture in the process of its creation. Therefore they should belong to all mankind. For exam...


... middle of paper ...


...ts value and validity deserves doubt.
Thirdly, Appiah thinks that cultural artefacts are potentially valuable to all human beings so they belong to all humanity, without taking historical, social and anthropological reality into account. He is more like trying to cover the shameful trade of stolen loot from its original owners.
In a word, cultural heritage belongs to where it is created. Based on this precondition, cultural artifacts can be shared by all the human being only when its owner offers this on his own.


Works Cited
Brice, Arthur & Shoichet, Catherine E., 2010, “Peru’s president: Yale agrees to return Incan artifacts”: http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/11/20/peru.yale.artifacts/
“Cosmopolitanism”: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cosmopolitanism/#Bib
Sen, Amartya, 2006, “Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny”. Allen Lane



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