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
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Practically, the laws can hardly require European or Japanese museums as well as private collectors to return these artefacts. Moreover, their collection of these items proves that they respect and love the cultural heritage of humanity. So Appiah recommends undeveloped countries and regions consider exhibiting these treasures in other countries in a more dignified way, better reflecting their value, and at the same time, these origin countries can make their own contribution to cultural cosmopolitanism.
II. Questioning Appiah’s Cosmopolitanism
First of all, Appiah’s cosmopolitan perspective on cultural artifacts conveniently strips any sense of “property” from them. If cultural artifacts are, however, removed from their context as someone’s specific property — and thus literally deracinated — it is easy to argue that they belong to all “humanity.” The problem is, it reminds us of the old saw about leftists: they love humanity, it is just people they can’t stand.
I will argue that what is needed is not a faith in property and the market as politically neutral ways of adjudicating the distribution of art objects, but rather a critique of the straightforward acknowledgement and respect for non-property forms of

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