Ten-Herng Lai
University of Melbourne
Many have argued that certain statues or monuments are objectionable, and thus ought to be removed. Even if their arguments are compelling, a major obstacle is the apparent historical value of those commemorations. Preservation in some form seems to be the best way to respect the value of commemorations as connections to the past or opportunities to learn important historical lessons. Against this, I argue that we have exaggerated the historical value of objectionable commemorations. Sometimes commemorations connect to biased or distorted versions of history, if not mere myths. We can also learn historical lessons through what I call repudiatory honouring: the honouring of certain victims or resistors that can only make sense if the oppressor(s) or target(s) of resistance are deemed unjust, where no part of the original objectionable commemorations is preserved. This type of commemorative practice can even help to overcome some of the obstacles objectionable commemorations pose against properly connecting to the past.
Keywords monuments  commemorations  transitional justice  vandalism  social movements  historical value  political honouring  historical wrongdoing
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References found in this work BETA

Oppressive Things.Shen-yi Liao & Bryce Huebner - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (1):92-113.
A Case for Removing Confederate Monuments.Travis Timmerman - 2020 - In Bob Fischer (ed.), Ethics, Left and Right: The Moral Issues that Divide Us. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 513-522.
Slurring Words.Luvell Anderson & Ernie Lepore - 2013 - Noûs 47 (1):25-48.

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Citations of this work BETA

How Statues Speak.David Friedell & Shen-yi Liao - forthcoming - The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.

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