Thanks Louis. Kant is a (somewhat complex) case in point. He doesn't
actually defend slavery, and occasionally offers mild criticisms of
some its pseudo-justifications, but he promoted the most odious
racist stereotypes just at a time when the first anti-slavery
movement was developing. In "On the Way to a World Republic? Kant on
Race and Development," Thomas McCarthy characterizes Kant's position
on slavery as "ambivalent."
"Writing precisely at the time when significant religious and
philosophical opposition to racial slavery was emerging in Europe and
America, Kant not only failed explicitly to condemn that 'peculiar
institution' but constructed one of the most -- some would argue, the
most -- elaborate accounts of racial hierarchy prior to the flood
tide of racial thinking accompanying nineteenth-century colonialism."
The paper is available on line at:
P.S. The comments on your blog post were bizarre. Some of the
contributors seem to think that Kant's words are yours.
At 4:12 PM -0400 7/2/07, Louis Proyect wrote:
>Phil Gasper wrote:
>>I obviously haven't had a chance to read Hind's book yet, and it
>>certainly looks interesting, but unless the publisher's blurb is
>>misleading (certainly quite possible), it seems to greatly
>>oversimplify the complex legacies of the Enlightenment. Just two
>>(1) While I would agree that people like Hitchens and Amis violate
>>the values of much Enlightenment thought, some major Enlightenment
>>figures defended slavery and colonialism.
>Selection from Kant's writings in Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze, "Race and
>the Enlightenment: A Reader", pp. 58-64: