Contemporary white Americans cannot meaningfully ask forgiveness from present-day African Americans for slavery, because such a group apology does not have the mental state needed to communicate regret and intend that listeners forgive the group. Even if the requisite mental state were present, contemporary white Americans are not responsible for the wrong and cannot apologize for wrongs for which they are not responsible. Additionally, such a purported apology is not directed to the victims of the wrong but instead seeks (...) forgiveness from present-day citizens who were not enslaved and could not therefore accept such an apology on behalf of the slaves. (shrink)
In recent years, comparisons between abortion and slavery have become increasingly common in American pro-life politics. Some have compared the struggle to extinguish abortion rights to the struggle to end slavery. Others have claimed that Roe v Wade is the Dred Scott of our time. Still others have argued that abortion is worse than slavery; it is a form of genocide. This paper tracks the abortion = slavery meme from Ronald Reagan to the current personhood movement, (...) drawing on work by Orlando Patterson, Hortense Spillers, and Saidiya Hartman to develop a discourse of reproductive justice that grapples with the wounded kinship of slavery and racism. (shrink)
The permissibility of actions depends upon facts about the flourishing and separateness of persons. Persons differ from other creatures in having the task of discovering for themselves, by conjecture and refutation, what sort of life will fulfil them. Compulsory slavery impermissibly prevents some persons from pursuing this task. However, many people may conjecture that they are natural slaves. Some of these conjectures may turn out to be correct. In consequence, voluntary slavery, in which one person welcomes the duty (...) to fulfil all the commands of another, is permissible. Life-long voluntary slavery contracts are impermissible because of human fallibility; but fixed-term slavery contracts should be legally enforceable. Each person has the temporarily alienable moral right to direct her own life. (shrink)
Egalitarians must address two questions: i. What should there be an equality of, which concerns the currency of the ‘equalisandum’; and ii. How should this thing be allocated to achieve the so-called equal distribution? A plausible initial composite answer to these two questions is that resources should be allocated in accordance with choice, because this way the resulting distribution of the said equalisandum will ‘track responsibility’ — responsibility will be tracked in the sense that only we will be responsible for (...) the resources that are available to us, since our allocation of resources will be a consequence of our own choices. But the effects of actual choices should not be preserved until the prior effects of luck in constitution and circumstance are first eliminated. For instance, people can choose badly because their choice-making capacity was compromised due to a lack of intelligence (i.e. due to constitutional bad luck), or because only bad options were open to them (i.e. due to circumstantial bad luck), and under such conditions we are not responsible for our choices. So perhaps a better composite answer to our two questions (from the perspective of tracking responsibility) might be that resources should be allocated so as to reflect people’s choices, but only once those choices have been corrected for the distorting effects of constitutional and circumstantial luck, and on this account choice preservation and luck elimination are two complementary aims of the egalitarian ideal. Nevertheless, it is one thing to say that luck’s effects should be eliminated, but quite another to figure out just how much resource redistribution would be required to achieve this outcome, and so it was precisely for this purpose that in 1981 Ronald Dworkin developed the ingenuous hypothetical insurance market argumentative device (HIMAD), which he then used in conjunction with the talent slavery (TS) argument, to arrive at an estimate of the amount of redistribution that would be required to reduce the extent of luck’s effects. However recently Daniel Markovits has cast doubt over Dworkin’s estimates of the amount of redistribution that would be required, by pointing out flaws with his understanding of how the hypothetical insurance market would function. Nevertheless, Markovits patched it up and he used this patched-up version of Dworkin’s HIMAD together with his own version of the TS argument to reach his own conservative estimate of how much redistribution there ought to be in an egalitarian society. Notably though, on Markovits’ account once the HIMAD is patched-up and properly understood, the TS argument will also allegedly show that the two aims of egalitarianism are not necessarily complementary, but rather that they can actually compete with one another. According to his own ‘equal-agent’ egalitarian theory, the aim of choice preservation is more important than the aim of luck elimination, and so he alleges that when the latter aim comes into conflict with the former aim then the latter will need to be sacrificed to ensure that people are not subordinated to one another as agents. I believe that Markovits’ critique of Dworkin is spot on, but I also think that his own positive thesis — and hence his conclusion about how much redistribution there ought to be in an egalitarian society — is flawed. Hence, this paper will begin in Section I by explaining how Dworkin uses the HIMAD and his TS argument to estimate the amount of redistribution that there ought to be in an egalitarian society — this section will be largely expository in content. Markovits’ critique of Dworkin will then be outlined in Section II, as will be his own positive thesis. My critique of Markovits, and my own positive thesis, will then make a fleeting appearance in Section III. Finally, I will conclude by rejecting both Dworkin’s and Markovits’ estimates of the amount of redistribution that there ought to be in an egalitarian society, and by reaffirming the responsibility-tracking egalitarian claim that choice preservation and luck elimination are complementary and not competing egalitarian aims. (shrink)
In the 1706 third edition of her Reflections upon Marriage, Mary Astell alludes to John Locke’s definition of slavery in her descriptions of marriage. She describes the state of married women as being ‘subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, Arbitrary Will of another Man’ (Locke, Two Treatises, II.22). Recent scholars maintain that Astell does not seriously regard marriage as a form of slavery in the Lockean sense. In this paper, I defend the contrary position: I argue that Astell (...) does seriously regard marriage as a form of slavery for women and that she condemns this state of affairs as morally wrong. I also show that, far from criticizing Locke, Astell draws on key passages in his Thoughts concerning Education to urge that women be educated to retain their liberty. (shrink)
In contrast to eminent historical philosophers, almost all contemporary philosophers maintain that slavery is impermissible. In the enthusiasm of the Enlightenment, a number of arguments gained currency which were intended to show that contractual slavery is not merely impermissible but impossible. Those arguments are influential today in moral, legal and political philosophy, even in discussions that go beyond the issue of contractual slavery. I explain what slavery is, giving historical and other illustrations. I examine the arguments (...) for the impossibility of contractual slavery propounded in the Enlightenment and their offspring expounded in recent writings, including those by Barnett, Cassirer, Ellerman, Rawls, Roberts-Thomson, Satz and Steiner. I show that they involve confusions between abilities and rights, free will and freedom, directing and doing, what may be true sequentially and what may be true simultaneously, default rights and universal rights, impermissibility and impossibility, and metaphorical and literal uses of language. (shrink)
The institution of slavery is an unjust institution. The aim of this paper is to provide an explanation of why it is unjust. I argue that slavery is unjust because it makes it impossible for slaves to realise both their interest in self-respect and their interest in being at home in the world. Furthermore, I argue that this explanation of the injustice of slavery also provides us with an argument for political equality.
This paper demonstrates how British Quakers, between 1870 and 1914, attempted to understand and debate the issue of vivisection through the lens of the Quaker peace testimony. Drawing on primary source materials, the article argues that these Friends were able to agitate for radical legislative and social change using virtue ethics as their framework. The paper further suggests that the moral parameters of the Quaker testimony for peace expanded briefly in this period to include interspecies as well as intraspecies engagement. (...) Friends accomplished this by arguing that humans could not engage in vivisection—a “moral disease” just like slavery and war—without risking individual and social virtue. Friends were able to call for radical change in society without arguing for ethical egalitarianism. Hierarchy was implicit in their virtue ethic, but this did not hinder their creation of a forward-thinking stance on human-animal relations. (shrink)
This volume addresses a wide variety of moral concerns regarding slavery as an institutionalized social practice. By considering the slave's critical appropriation of the natural rights doctrine, the ambiguous implications of various notions of consent and liberty are examined. The authors assume that, although slavery is undoubtedly an evil social practice, its moral assessment stands in need of a more nuanced treatment. They address the question of what is wrong with slavery by critically examining, and in some (...) cases endorsing, certain principles derived from communitarianism, paternalism, utilitarianism, and jurisprudence. (shrink)
Alex Gourevitch’s From Slavery to the Cooperative Commonwealth is a valuable contribution to republican historiography: in reconstructing the ideas of the 19th century American labour republicans, this work significantly expands and enriches our appreciation of the classical republican tradition. While the labour republicans are convincingly shown to have made important contributions to that tradition, stronger claims that they fundamentally transformed republicanism are less persuasive.
The article sets forth Ronald Dworkin’s efforts to avert the slavery of the talented within his theory of equality, so that they are not forced to work full-time at one type of job, but then criticises Dworkin for failing to apply similar concerns to not so talented workers. It argues that he overlooks the problem of the slavery of the not so talented that results from the tough rules he proposes for dealing with insurance payouts. Finally, it tries (...) to show how this unfairness can be avoided with a better interpretation of the likely outcome of his hypothetical insurance experiment given a better understanding of the motivations of parties operating within that experiment. (shrink)
In spite of some revisionist attempts to rationalise slavery as just another form of trade between interested parties, there is an overwhelming conviction that it represented an age of man’s highest inhumanity to fellow man. Accordingly, calls have been loud and persistent as to the need for reparation which though will never compensate for actual loss, nevertheless has the possibility of symbolising penitence and serve as cushion for some of the debilitating damages done. This paper examines the moral basis (...) of the call for reparation. In agreeing with the moral validity of the claims, the paper probes further in a realistic manner and argue that African states in their present situation cannot make a serious case for reparation. The paper argues further that for African states to position themselves for genuine reparation struggles in this age of political realism, urgent steps must be taken to ensure the useful and productive deployment of available resources in Africa and remove the continent from its appendage status with the west. The paper concludes that only when African states are able to break the cycle of poverty and underdevelopment, freeing themselves from external manipulations can a credible and rewarding case for reparation be made. Keywords : Reparation, Slavery, Realism, Africa, Leadership. (shrink)
Why was Anti-Slavery International (ASI) so effective at changing norms slavery and even mobilizing the support that ended the transatlantic slave trade at the end of the nineteenth century, and why has that success not continued on into subsequent eras? This article claims that ASI's organizational structure is the key to understanding why its accomplishments in earlier eras have yet to be replicated, and why today it struggles to make modern forms of slavery, such as human trafficking, (...) salient political issues. Organizational structure is defined by how an NGO distributes power over agenda-setting (proposal and enforcement power) and its implementation. Those NGOs that centralize agenda-setting and decentralize the implementation of that agenda will be most effective at changing international norms. This paper demonstrates the tractability of that claim with a comparative analysis of ASI past and present to show that changes in organizational structure have led to differences in their effect on international norms, in spite of the fact that slavery in its modern forms persists as a political and social problem. (shrink)
Examining the literature of slavery and race before the Civil War, Maurice Lee demonstrates for the first time exactly how the slavery crisis became a crisis of philosophy that exposed the breakdown of national consensus and the limits of rational authority. Poe, Stowe, Douglass, Melville, and Emerson were among the antebellum authors who tried - and failed - to find rational solutions to the slavery conflict. Unable to mediate the slavery controversy as the nation moved toward (...) war, their writings form an uneasy transition between the confident rationalism of the American Enlightenment and the more skeptical thought of the pragmatists. Lee draws on antebellum moral philosophy, political theory, and metaphysics, bringing a fresh perspective to the literature of slavery - one that synthesizes cultural studies and intellectual history to argue that romantic, sentimental, and black Atlantic writers all struggled with modernity when facing the slavery crisis. (shrink)
My goal in this paper is to shed light on how moral progress actually occurs. I begin by restating a conception of moral progress that I set out in previous work, the “Naïve Conception,” and explain how it comports with various normative and metaethical views. I go on to develop an index of moral progress and show how judgments about moral progress can be made. I then discuss an example of moral progress from the past—the British abolition of the Atlantic (...) slave trade—with a view to what can be learned from this for a contemporary struggle for moral progress: the movement to decarbonize the global economy. I close with some thoughts about how moral progress actually occurs. (shrink)
Many philosophers have criticized John Rawls’s Law of Peoples. However, often these criticisms take it for granted that the moral conclusions drawn in A Theory of Justice are superior to those in the former book. In my view, however, Rawls comes to many of his 'conclusions' without too many actual inferences. More precisely, my argument here is that if one takes Rawls’s premises and the assumptions made about the original position(s) seriously and does in fact think them through to their (...) logical conclusions, both 'A Theory of Justice' and 'The Law of Peoples' have abysmally counterintuitive and immoral implications. To wit, if the members in the original position think, as Rawls suggests,that their society is closed and they will have no interaction with outsiders, and if, furthermore, they are self-interested and concerned with the basic structure of their own society, than there is absolutely no reason for them to use the terms “persons” or “least advantaged” in the formulation of the two principles. Rather, they will use the terms “citizens of our society” and “least advantaged of our society” instead. But thus revised, the principles of justice imply that the genocide or the enslavement of outsiders is unobjectionable. I will consider attempts to block this conclusion and demonstrate that they all fail. The Law of Peoples, moreover, faces similar problems. (shrink)
Aristotle's claim that natural slaves do not possess autonomous rationality (Pol. 1.5, 1254b20-23) cannot plausibly be interpreted in an unrestricted sense, since this would conflict with what Aristotle knew about non-Greek societies. Aristotle's argument requires only a lack of autonomous practical rationality. An impairment of the capacity for integrated practical deliberation, resulting from an environmentally induced excess or deficiency in thumos (Pol. 7.7, 1327b18-31), would be sufficient to make natural slaves incapable of eudaimonia without being obtrusively implausible relative to what (...) Aristotle is likely to have believed about non-Greeks. Since Aristotle seems to have believed that the existence of people who can be enslaved without injustice is a hypothetical necessity, if those capable oí eudaimonia are to achieve it, the existence of natural slaves has implications for our understanding of Aristotle's natural teleology. (shrink)
This article aims at understanding how "ethical public issues" are created, and dealt within a public arena. Here, we view ethical public issues as social constructs, which are the results of issue framing contests. Such an approach will enable us to understand how ethical public issues emerge and are shaped by strategizing actors (including firms, NGOs, the media, and governments), in an attempt to impose their own definition and preferred solution to the issue. We also propose key factors which explain (...) the success of a framing attempt, and evidence of such success. The empirical case of the labor conditions in West Africa's cocoa industry is used to illustrate this theoretical framework and methodological approach. (shrink)
The era of globalization has been accompanied by an increased awareness of private wrongs as well as acceleration of many forms of cross-border labor exploitation. The essay explores how refined distinctions between forced and free sex work could improve anti-trafficking policies. It addresses the understudied linkages between other forms of migration and sexual exploitation and suggests a triage approach to all forms of labor exploitation—based on harms rather than type of labor or victim. A better understanding of freedom, sex, and (...) development will allow us to expand a human rights approach to these private wrongs. The best anti-trafficking policy is one of universal, indivisible human rights. Victims of sexual exploitation need the same things as all migrants and all workers—recognition, monitoring, resources, access to justice, and organization. (shrink)
Ênio José da Costa Brito apresenta Uma leitura da escravidão pela ótica dos desafios do antiescravismo . Trata-se de minuciosa nota bibliográfica sobre a obra de Seymour Drescher: DRESCHER, Seymour. Abolição: Uma história da Escravidão e do Antiescravismo. São Paulo: Editora UNESP, 2011, 736p. ISBN 978-85-393-0184-3.
Kant’s account of the freedom gained through virtue builds on the Socratic tradition. On the Socratic view, when morality is our end, nothing can hinder us from attaining satisfaction: we are self-sufficient and free since moral goodness is (as Kant says) “created by us, hence is in our power.” But when our end is the fulfillment of sensible desires, our satisfaction requires luck as well as the cooperation of others. For Kant, this means that happiness requires that we get other (...) people to work for our ends; and this requires, in turn, that we gain control over the things other people value so as to have influence over them. If this plan for happiness is not subordinated to morality, then what is most valuable to us will be precisely what others value. This is the root of the “passions” that make us evil and make us slaves whose satisfaction depends on others. But, significantly, this dependence is a moral slavery and hence does not signal a loss, or even diminishment of the kind of freedom required for moral responsibility. (shrink)
Two profound atrocities in the history of Western culture form the subject of this moving philosophical exploration: American Slavery and the Holocaust. An African American and a Jew, Laurence Mordekhai Thomas denounces efforts to place the suffering of one group above the other. Rather, he pronounces these two defining historical experiences as profoundly evil in radically different ways and points to their logically incompatible aims. The author begins with a discussion of the nature of evil, exploring the fragility of (...) human beings and the phenomena of compartmentalizing, unquestioning obedience to authority, and moral drift. Citing compelling examples from history and contemporary life, he characterizes evil acts in terms of moral agency, magnitude, and intent. With moving testimony, Thomas depicts the moral pain of African Americans and Jews during their ordeals and describes how their past as victims has affected their future. Without invidious comparison, he distinguishes between extermination and domination, death and natal alienation, physical and mental cruelty, and between being viewed as irredeemable evil and as a moral simpleton. Thomas also considers the role of blacks and Jews in the Christian narrative. _In Vessels of Evil_, Thomas also considers the ways Jews and blacks have gone on to survive. He analyzes the relative flourishing of Jews and the languishing of blacks in this country and examines the implications of their dissimilar tragedies on any future relationship between these two minorities. (shrink)
In the Infamous Opening Sections from Part IX of Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche celebrates a strident kind of elitism and countenances, in however attenuated a form, the institution of slavery. “Every enhancement of the type ‘man,’” he writes, “has so far been the work of an aristocratic society—and it will be so again and again—a society that believes in the long ladder of an order of rank and difference in worth [Werthverschiedenheit] between man and man, and that needs (...)slavery [Sklaverei] in some sense or other” (257). In the section that follows, Nietzsche describes a “good and healthy aristocracy” as “accept[ing] with a good conscience the sacrifice of untold human beings who, for its sake [um ihretwillen] .. (shrink)
In this essay, I contend that feminist theories of citizenship in the U.S. context must go beyond simply acknowledging the importance of race and grapple explicitly with the legacies of slavery. To sketch this case, I draw upon W.E.B. Du Bois's "The Damnation of Women," which explores the significance for all Americans of African American women's sexual, economic, and political lives under slavery and in its aftermath.
This article discusses the definition of slavery as a status in society and a relation to an owner. an imaginary case in which utilitarian arguments could justify slavery. this case, just because it is highly unlikely to occur in the actual world, does not provide an argument against utilitarianism. if it did occur, slavery would be justified in this case, but that is no reason for abandoning our intuitive principle condemning slavery. the adoption of this principle (...) has in the actual world a good utilitarian justification. slavery is wrong because in the world of men as they are it will almost always cause misery. (shrink)
There has recently been a surge of interest, theoretical and political, in reparations for slavery. This essay takes up several moral-political issues from that intensifying debate: how to conceptualize and justify collective compensation and collective responsibility, and how to establish a plausible connection between past racial injustices and present racial inequalities. It concludes with some brief remarks on one aspect of the very complicated politics of reparations: the possible effects of hearings and trials on the public memory and political (...) culture of a historically racist society. The hope is that these arguments, taken together, draft a coherent case for slavery reparations as pursued by the Reparations Coordinating Committee. (shrink)
Aristotle's account of natural slavery appears to be internally inconsistent concerning whether slavery is advantageous to the natural slave. Whereas the Politics asserts that slavery is beneficial to the slave, the ethical treatises deny such a claim. Examination of Aristotle's arguments suggests a distinction which resolves the apparent contradiction. Aristotle distinguishes between the common benefit between two people who join together in an association And the same benefit which exists between a whole and its parts. Master and (...) slave share no common benefit, but instead the slave receives the same benefit a master does, albeit only through participation in the master as a part within a whole. Although Aristotle's distinction hardly justifies his doctrine of slavery, it saves Aristotle from one alleged internal inconsistency and sheds light on what Aristotle means by association and the common good. (shrink)
The debate over Locke’s theory of slavery has focused on his involvement with the Royal African Company and other institutions of African slavery, as well as his rhetorical use of slavery in opposing absolutism. This overlooks Locke’s deep involvement with the Carolina colony, and in particular that colony’s Indian slave trade, which was largely justified in just-war terms. Evidence of Locke’s participation in the 1682 revisions to the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, which removed the infamous “absolute power (...) and authority” clause, and his knowledge of colonial affairs, when examined alongside textual evidence of the timing of the composition of Locke’s theory of slavery, indicates a significant connection between the colony and Locke’s work. In light of this evidence, this article suggests an interpretation of Locke’s theory that stresses its character as a response to the conditions he encountered in Carolina. (shrink)
This article is an attempt to break down Aristotle's arguments in favour of slavery into what I take to be their constituent premises and conclusions, to set these out schematically in syllogistic form, and to display both how each of the arguments works on its own and how all of them fit together to form one overarching argument. The purpose of this exercise is to make as evident as possible the structure, coherence, and validity of Aristotle's reasoning. This is (...) something that is lacking in scholarly treatments of Aristotle on slavery, few of which make a serious attempt to engage with the details of Aristotle's text. My conclusion is that Aristotle's argument is not only valid but, on the assumption of his virtue theory, sound as well. (shrink)
This article introduces several aspects of eighteenth-century discussions of slavery that may be unfamiliar or surprising to present-day readers. First, even eighteenth-century philosophers who were opponents of slavery often exhibited marked racism and helped develop racial concepts that would later serve pro-slavery theorists. Such thinkers include Hume, Voltaire, and Kant. Second, we must see slavery debates in the context of larger scientific and political debates, including those about climate and character, just political systems, the superiority or (...) inferiority of the moderns to the ancients, and the status of women. This section of the paper discusses the views of Montesquieu, Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, Sarah Chapone, and Mary Astell. Finally, many anti-slavery arguments of the time may seem too ‘soft’ to contemporary readers, as they appeal to negative effects or aspects of slavery rather than arguing for its absolute injustice. The last section of the paper compares Rousseau's arguments against slavery in The Social Contract with such arguments and concludes with a discussion of how Hume's understanding of humanity as a virtue may serve as a bridge between the two. (shrink)
Critics have charged that John Stuart Mill''s discussion as of paternalism in On Liberty is internally inconsistent, noting, for example, the numerous instances in which Mill explicitly endorses examples of paternalistic coercion. Similarly, commentators have noted an apparent contradiction between Mill''s political liberalism – according to which the state should be neutral among competing conceptions of the good – and Mill''s condemnation of non-autonomous ways of life, such as that of a servile wife. More generally, critics have argued that while (...) Mill professes an allegiance to utilitarianism, he actually abandons it in favor of a view that values personal autonomy as the greatest intrinsic good. This paper presents an interpretation of Mill that provides a viable and consistent treatment of paternalism, thereby refuting each of the aforementioned critiques. Mill''s views, it argues, are consistently utilitarian. Moreover, the interpretation accounts for all of Mill''s departures from his otherwise blanket prohibition of paternalistic legislation. In particular, it explains his most notorious example, the condemnation of voluntary contracts for slavery. The interpretation emphasizes Mill''s conceptual linkage between autonomy and utility, noting his implicit use of at least three different senses of the notion of autonomy. (shrink)
Civilizational analysis is increasingly being used to capture the plurality of routes to and through the modern world order. However, the concept of civilization betrays a colonial legacy, namely, a denial that colonized peoples possessed the creative ability to cultivate their own subjecthoods. This denial was especially acute when it came to enslaved Africans in the New World whose bodies were imagined to be deracinated and deculturated. This article proposes that civilizational analysis has yet to fully address this legacy and, (...) to clarify the stakes at play, compares and contrasts the historical sociology of CLR James with the mytho-poetics of Derek Walcott. Both authors, in different ways, have attempted to endow that quintessentially un-civilizable body – the New World slave – with subjecthood. From this discussion, the article makes the case for developing a ‘poetics of slavery’ that could help to address the colonial strictures still residual in the concept of civilization. (shrink)
Such thinkers as John Stuart Mill, Gerald Dworkin, and Richard Doerflinger have appealed to the value of freedom to explain both what is wrong with slavery and what is wrong with selling oneself into slavery. Practical ethicists, including Dworkin and Doerflinger, sometimes use selling oneself into slavery in analogies intended to illustrate justifiable forms of paternalism. I argue that these thinkers have misunderstood the moral problem with slavery. Instead of being a central value in itself, I (...) argue that freedom is a means of serving the real value of autonomy. Moreover, I argue that autonomy is ambiguous. In cases of conflict, autonomous choice, here called "shallow autonomy", can justifiably be limited to serve "deep autonomy", or self-rule. I use these notions to give a better understanding of the problem with selling oneself into slavery, and argue that the work of Dworkin has to be seriously revised, and Doerflinger's position has to be given up altogether.\\\ John Stuart Mill, Gerald Dworkin y Richard Doerflinger han recurrido al valor de la libertad para explicar tanto porque está mal moralmente la esclavitud como venderse uno mismo como esclavo. Los teóricos de la ética práctica, incluidos Dworkin y Doerflinger, a veces utilizan el caso de venderse uno mismo como esclavo en analogias que pretenden ilustrar formas justificables de paternalismo. Sostengo que estos pensadores han malinterpretado el problema moral con la esclavitud. Argumento que en lugar de ser un valor fundamental en si mismo, la libertad es un medio para el valor real de la autonomia. Arguyo, por otra parte, que la autónomia es ambigua. En casos de conflicto, la elección autonóma, denominada aqui "autonomia superficial", puede justificadamente estar limitada a servir a la "autonomia profunda", o autogobierno. Utilizo estas nociones para ofrecer una mejor interpretatión del problema moral con venderse uno mismo como esclavo, y sostengo que la obra de Dworkin se debe revisar con seriedad, y que se debe abandonar por completo la postura de Doerflinger. (shrink)
No international agreement has been completely effective in reducing slavery. This stems in part from the evolution of slavery agreements and the inclination on the part of the authors of conventions to include other practices as part of the slavery defintion, resulting in a confusion of the practices and definitions of slavery. What has been missing is a classification that is dynamic and yet sufficiently universal to identify slavery no matter how it evolves. We have (...) attempted to build on theories and examples to clarify the identification of slavery by focusing on an irreducible core of three elements. Assessing the presence of all three can then be applied to a variety of social relationships: first, the complete control of one personal by another; second, appropriation of labor power; and third, the enforcement of these conditoins by threats or acts of violence. Many practices identified in international agreements have some but not all of these three aspects; all three are present in traditional forms of slavery, bonded labor, forced prostitution, and sexual slavery. Effective research and legislation against slavery is important, as it affects an estimated 27 million people worldwide, and as slavery is on the increase now that many developing countries are forced to compete for income in a global economy. Finally it is important to remember that slavery, like all social and economic relationships, evolves over time. Any definition that is based on a historical form of slavery will soon lose its power to capture new forms of slavery within its aegis. Our understanding and our definition of slavery must become as dynamic as the phenomenon itself. (shrink)
Summary This article looks at a specific case of intellectual exchange by approaching Luís Pereira Barreto (1840?1923), a Brazilian medic who, having studied in Brussels in the 1850s, came into contact with Comte's positivism and with the ideas of his disciples. While in Europe, Barreto established a long-lasting friendship with Pierre Lafitte, and became a convert to Comte's Religion of Humanity. Upon his return to Brazil in 1864, Barreto sought to apply Comte's principles to Brazilian society and politics. Although Barreto's (...) use of positivism extends beyond the issue of slavery and slave work, I will focus on this priest of humanity's considerations about positivism, social evolutionism, and Brazilian slavery. This will allow me to extrapolate some qualified conclusions about the nature of the intellectual exchange that occurred between Barreto and the French positivists, and the development of Brazilian positivism as a political philosophy and social theory which had to address the problem of slavery in the 1870s and 1880s. (shrink)
This essay systematically reformulates an earlier argument about Locke and new world slavery, adding attention to Indians, natural law, and Locke's reception. Locke followed Grotian natural law in constructing a just-war theory of slavery. Unlike Grotius, though, he severely restricted the theory, making it inapplicable to America. It only fit resistance to "absolute power" in Stuart England. Locke was nonetheless an agent of British colonialism who issued instructions governing slavery. Yet they do not inform his theory--or vice (...) versa. This creates hermeneutical problems and raises charges of racism. If Locke deserves the epithet "racist," it is not for his having a racial doctrine justifying slavery. None of this makes for a flattering portrait. Locke's reputation as the champion of liberty would not survive the contradictions in which new world slavery ensnared him. Evidence for this may be found in Locke's reception, including by Southern apologists for slavery. (shrink)
Translated into English for the first time, Dark Side of the Light scrutinizes Condorcet’s Reflections on Negro Slavery and the works of Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Diderot side by side with the Code Noir (the royal document that codified ...
The abolition of slavery after the Revolution of 1789 has always been hailed by the French secular State as proof of the progressivist nature of the Republic. Nevertheless, there has never been any attempt to seriously confront the French involvement in the trade of slaves, which lasted for two centuries. France, a colonial power until the 1960s, which still retains several overseas possessions with an Afro-Caribbean population, has a large resident black population in the mainland which feels it has (...) been deprived of its memory and history and seeks official recognition of the role of the State in the trade of slaves. This article tries to show how a black collective identity and consciousness emerged around the fight for the recognition of slavery as a crime against humanity and the claim for financial compensation. This black collective identity competes with the Jewish community, which was granted financial compensation for the Shoah and which successfully lobbied the State to recognize that it was partly responsible for the genocide in World War II. While some radical black activists seek an alliance with part of the Islamic movement, they are also competing over the recognition of their collective identity by the State with the growing Muslim community whose memory is that of colonization and second-class citizenship. (shrink)
This essay argues that Hume’s criticism of slavery in “Of the Populousness of Ancient Nations,” despite its contribution to the British Enlightenment’s anti-slavery movement, is not truly abolitionist in character. Hume’s aim was not to put an end to contemporary slave practices or forestall their expansion. Nonetheless, the criticism of slavery proves significant for reasons that transcend the demographic questions of the essay. It supports an argument that Hume develops throughout the Essays and Political Discourses. The conclusion (...) of this argument warns against reverence for either ancient systems or modern progress. Like all forms of factionalism, these divisive tendencies threaten to compromise both our moral sensibility and our rational judgment. (shrink)
This article explores the British anti-slavery writings of the mid- to late 18th century, and the meanings which they gave to the idea of owning a property in the person. It addresses the construction of a particular moral and political landscape where freedom was understood as both a kind of property and as non-domination, and slavery was constructed as a form of theft, and as the exercise of arbitrary power. This created a complex moral space, where possession, commerce, (...) savagery, tyranny and the emergence of race were all caught up with each other and entangled with the concept of consent. The article concludes with the suggestion that our current understandings of slavery continue to be informed by our notions of contract and consent, and so by conceptions of freedom and ownership that take us back to the tensions and debates of the 18th century. (shrink)