Conjectures on Kant and the Haitian Revolution

Southern Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Abstract

In this article, I put forward, as a suspicion only, that Kant never thought Black lives had dignity but only price. I follow Michel-Rolph Trouillot's argument that the Haitian Revolution is unthinkable for Enlightenment philosophers to examine what Kant could have, would have, or should have said about this world-historical event. By making conjectures about Kant's silence on the Haitian Revolution, I also draw from Kant's writings on the American and French Revolutions. If my suspicion is right, then Kantianism cannot accommodate an antiracist program. This ought to change how we talk about racism, slavery, and colonialism in Kant scholarship and in the history of philosophy.

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