Deliberation and Emancipation: Some Critical Remarks

Ethics 129 (1):8-38 (2018)
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This article draws on the antebellum political thought of Black abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany in critically assessing the efficacy of reasonableness in advancing the aims of emancipatory politics in political discourse. I argue, through a reading of Douglass and Delany, that comporting oneself reasonably in the face of oppressive ideology can be counterproductive, if one’s aim is to undermine such ideology and the institutions it supports. Douglass and Delany, I argue, also provide us with a framework for evaluating alternative discursive strategies we might wish to employ in light of the limited value of reasonableness for emancipatory politics.
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First archival date: 2018-08-25
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