The Ethics of Identity by Kwame Anthony Appiah (Princeton University Press, 384 pages, $29.95)
Many of us, when we pause to reﬂect on the larger questions, tend to think of our lives as vast projects that we are responsible for planning, organizing, and living out to completion. We often think, in fact, that a successful project must be one that we have tailored to ourselves as individuals. As John Stuart Mill put it, a person's “own mode of laying out his existence is the best, not because it is the best in itself, but because it is his own mode.”
A couple of months ago, I was invited to give a presentation for the psychiatry department at another medical school. The topic was medical ethics, and I was planning to talk especially about the growing influence of the drug industry on psychiatry. Just as I was about to be introduced, the psychiatrist who had invited me leaned over and whispered, "Do you mind if I thank Janssen Pharmaceuticals for sponsoring your presentation?"