Varieties of Philosophical Misanthropy

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I argue that misanthropy is systematic condemnation of the moral character of humankind as it has come to be. Such condemnation can be expressed affectively and practically in a range of different ways, and the bulk of the paper sketches the four main misanthropic stances evident across the history of philosophy. Two of these, the Enemy and Fugitive stances, were named by Kant, and I call the others the Activist and Quietist. Without exhausting the range of ways of being a philosophical misanthrope, these four suffice to justify my main claim that misanthropy should not be seen specifically in terms of hatred and violence. We should attend to the varieties of philosophical misanthropy, especially since doing so reveals a deeper phenomenon I call the misanthropic predicament.
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Archival date: 2021-07-19
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