Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (3):170-178 (2018)

Han van Wietmarschen
University College London
In “What’s Wrong with Colonialism,” Lea Ypi argues that the distinctive wrong of colonialism should be understood as the failure of the colonial relationship to extend equal and reciprocal terms of political association to the colonized. Laura Valentini argues that Ypi’s account fails. Her argument targets an ambiguity in Ypi’s account of the relata of the colonial relationship. Either Ypi’s view is that the members of the colonized group are, as individuals, denied an equal and reciprocal political relationship to the colonizer, or Ypi’s view is that the colonized individuals form a collective agent and that it is denied an equal and reciprocal relationship to the colonizer. According to Valentini, both options face insurmountable difficulties. Valentini’s argument, this paper argues, sets up a false dilemma. The third option is to think of the colonizer as relating in an unequal and non-reciprocal way to the plurality of people subjected to colonial rule. As I will argue, this view avoids Valentini’s objections. It does, however, raise some new questions about how we are to understand the distinctive wrong of colonialism.
Keywords colonialism  equality  group agency  plural quantification  reciprocity  shared agency  subjugation
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DOI 10.1002/tht3.381
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References found in this work BETA

On the People’s Terms.Philip Pettit - 2012 - Political Theory 44 (5):697-706.
What's Wrong with Colonialism.Lea Ypi - 2013 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 41 (2):158-191.
On the Distinctive Procedural Wrong of Colonialism.Laura Valentini - 2015 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 43 (4):312-331.
Playing One’s Part.Thomas H. Smith - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (2):213-44.

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