Race in Early Modern Philosophy [Book Review]

Societate Şi Politică 10 (1):67-69 (2016)
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Abstract
The ethos of Justin Smith’s Nature, Human Nature, & Human Difference is expressed in the narrative of Anton Wilhelm Amo (~1703-53), an African-born​ slave who earned his doctoral degree in Philosophy at a European university and went on to teach at the Universities of Jena and Halle. Smith identifies Amo as a time-marker for diverging interpretations of race: race as inherently tethered to physical difference and race as inherited essential difference. Further, these interpretations of race are fastened to the discourse of science and human diversity within modern Europe. Smith’s thesis maintains that the rise of the concept of race in philosophy begins with a divorcing of the soul from human nature and a movement to a naturalistic classification of human beings through taxonomies (e.g. botany, mineralogy and zoology), which dissolved into this dichotomy: an essential difference between people of reason and people of nature.
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