Colonialism, Injustice, and Arbitrariness

Journal of Social Philosophy 48 (2):197-211 (2017)
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The current debate on why colonialism is wrong overlooks what is arguably the most discernible aspect of this particular historical injustice: its exreme violence. Through a critical analysis of the recent contributions by Lea Ypi, Margaret Moore and Laura Valentini, this article argues that the violence inflicted on the victims and survivors of colonialism reveals far more about the nature of this historical injustice than generally assumed. It is the arbitrary nature of the power relations between colonizers and the colonized which is at the heart of the injustice of colonization, and violence was the way arbitrariness and domination was cemented. The example of colonialism in the Caribbean during the 16th and 17th centuries is used to expose the full extent of this historical injustice.

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Vittorio Bufacchi
University College Cork


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