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philosophy and racism

For those of you interested in philosophy and my thinky-thoughts on it (which I get may not be everyone, so really, if it's not your thing don't feel obliged), I threw together a post at my non-fannish blog. The start:

A while ago I read Eugene Park’s HuffPo piece and Brian Leiter’s follow-up over at 3 AM asking the question, is philosophy racist, or perhaps more subtly, does it need to include more non-white thinkers in what we teach and research? I have Thoughts with a capital T there, but I’m still struggling to get them into a specific form that’s really worth sharing. (The answer, will most certainly look something like “Yes, but…”, as do most of my thoughts on philosophy. Go not to the Elves, as they say.) But in the mean time, I thought it might be interested to write a bit about a simpler question (which as it turns out isn’t so simple after all): what would it mean to include more voices of color? Is non-white really the standard? And what do we mean by “white,” even?

At which point I walked through the biographies of three of my favorite medieval philosophers (Augustine, Maimonides, and Anselm) and talked a bit about whether they should be considered white or at least part of the story white people today consider our history. You can read the whole thing here:


As some of you know I've been feeling pretty down lately. I still am, and I make no claims that this is as polished or as nuanced as I'd like. Or, you know, that the history is 100% true. This is just me trying to work some thoughts out and I'm going purely from memory. But I thought some people might find it interesting, so there you go.


Oct. 19th, 2014 10:53 am (UTC)
Hmm, Yezidis may be monotheists, but they aren't Christians - they certainly don't consider themselves as such; although it's true they picked up bits of Christianity along the way.

Even if you consider the Ottoman Empire as the political heir of earlier rulers, Turks aren't Arabs by any definition (and calling a Turk an Arab - or vice versa - is a good way to insult one); nor is there a dynastic link between Arab rulers in Spain in Maimonides' time and the Ottoman rulers as far as I am aware.

I'm not going to touch the question of whether Jews or Hispanics are white according to American definitions - although of course a Jew's 'whiteness' probably depends on what the person making the argument needs him to be [/cynical mode off]



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