A Case for Removing Confederate Monuments

In Bob Fischer (ed.), Ethics, Left and Right: The Moral Issues that Divide Us. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 513-522 (2020)
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A particularly important, pressing, philosophical question concerns whether Confederate monuments ought to be removed. More precisely, one may wonder whether a certain group, viz. the relevant government officials and members of the public who together can remove the Confederate monuments, are morally obligated to (of their own volition) remove them. Unfortunately, academic philosophers have largely ignored this question. This paper aims to help rectify this oversight by moral philosophers. In it, I argue that people have a moral obligation to remove most, if not all, public Confederate monuments because of the unavoidable harm they inflict on undeserving persons. In the first section, I provide some relevant historical context. In the second section, I make my unique harm-based argument for the removal of Confederate monuments. In the third section, I consider and rebut five objections.

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Travis Timmerman
Seton Hall University


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