November 27, 2023

Julia Jorati's latest book, Slavery and Race: Philosophical Debates in the Eighteenth Century, is hot off the press:

Millions of Africans were enslaved and transported to the Americas in the eighteenth century. Europeans--many of whom viewed themselves as enlightened--endorsed, funded, legislated, and executed the slave trade. This atrocity had a profound impact on philosophy, but historians of the discipline have so far neglected to address the topics of slavery and race. Many authors--including enslaved and formerly enslaved Black authors--used philosophical ideas to advocate for abolition, analyze racist attitudes, and critique racial bias. Other authors attempted to justify the transatlantic slave trade by advancing philosophical defenses of racial chattel slavery.

Slavery and Race: Philosophical Debates in the Eighteenth Century explores these philosophical ideas and arguments, with a focus on the role race played in discussions of slavery. In doing so, author Julia Jorati reveals how closely associated Blackness and slavery were at that time and how many White people viewed Black people as naturally destined for slavery. In addition to examining well-known authors like David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Jorati also discusses less widely studied philosophers like Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Lemuel Haynes, and Olympe de Gouges. By revealing important aspects of debates about slavery in North America and Europe, this book and its companion volume on the sixteenth and seventeeth centuries are valuable resources for readers interested in a more complete history of early modern philosophy.