Whose Lives Matter? The Black Lives Matter Movement and the Contested Legacy of Philosophical Humanism – Journal of Social Philosophy – article

Whose Lives Matter? The Black Lives Matter Movement and the Contested Legacy of Philosophical Humanism

Andrew J. Pierce | Journal of Social Philosophy

2019-10-22

“””””””Who is right? In this paper, I will argue that the “black lives matter” versus “all lives matter” debate can be illuminated by reflecting on the history of philosophical humanism, and in particular, on the rational humanism that emerged from the European Enlightenment. In much the same way that critics of “all lives matter” accuse the slogan of a false universalism that conceals the domination of people of color, critics of this and other forms of European humanism have identified the ways in which, despite its pretensions to universality, it actually concealed the exclusion and dehumanization of nonEuropean peoples. And yet, in spite of this criticism, many critics of European humanism are loath to abandon humanism tout court. Instead, they have attempted to reconstruct, reclaim, revise, or reconstitute forms of humanism that are more genuinely inclusive. Interestingly, this often takes the form of demanding recognition for one’s particular cultural, racial, national, or ethnic identity, a demand that manifests both philosophically and politically.”””””””

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