The, Local Agreements, By Appiah

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In Appiah’s first section, “Local Agreements,” he begins with an example from his own culture, about their values and actions concerning incest. This leads to his first argument, that it is not values which allow people to live in harmony with each other, but rather, the fact that their practices as a result of different values coincide. For this, he offers several illustrations, including the Muslim leadership of Spain and the Ottoman Empire, which still managed to include Jewish and Christian communities that lived in relative peace; this was not because they shared religious values, or even that they had similar reasons for acting in compatible ways, only that their actions allowed them to coexist. This leads to his next example, which is the Establishment Clause and the first amendment to the constitution, which offers freedom of religion to all people. There are many different reasons and values which people have that cause them to support this principle, but, in the end, it is not why they support the amendment which produces consensus in most of America, but, rather, the fact that they act in such a way as to uphold the freedom. That is not to say that Appiah believes values should therefore be irrelevant when it comes to cohesive harmony between different groups, because he does attest that there are certain “American” values which most of the population of this country share, at least at the theoretical stage of the value, though they may disagree about the
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