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Nature, Human Nature, and Human DifferenceRace in Early Modern Philosophy$
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Justin E. H. Smith

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153643

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153643.001.0001

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Anton Wilhelm Amo

Anton Wilhelm Amo

(p.207) Chapter 8 Anton Wilhelm Amo
Nature, Human Nature, and Human Difference

Justin E. H. Smith

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on the life and work of Anton Wilhelm Amo, who was active in Germany in the period between Leibniz and Kant. It shows how Amo's identity as an African in Europe helped to shape both his philosophy and its reception, and what lessons may have been drawn in the era for thinking about the relationship between human racial diversity, on the one hand, and the universality of human reason, on the other. Finally, the chapter argues that the position occupied by Amo in the philosophical landscape of early eighteenth-century Germany reveals the likely influence of Leibniz, who had provided a model for a nonracial philosophical anthropology for which he has generally not been given much credit.

Keywords:   Anton Wilhelm Amo, human racial diversity, human reason, nonracial philosophical anthropology, eighteenth-century Germany

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