How Public Statues Wrong: Affective Artifacts and Affective Injustice

Topoi:1-11 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

In what way might public statues wrong people? In recent years, philosophers have drawn on speech act theory to answer this question by arguing that statues constitute harmful or disrespectful forms of speech. My aim in this paper will be add a different theoretical perspective to this discussion. I will argue that while the speech act approach provides a useful starting point for thinking about what is wrong with public statues, we can get a fuller understanding of these wrongs by drawing on resources from recent work in situated affectivity. I will argue that public statues can be understood as affective artifacts and that this can both help us understand both the deep affective wrongs caused by public statues and offer a possible explanation as to why some people are so strongly opposed to their removal.

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Alfred Archer
Tilburg University

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