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Nature, Human Nature, and Human Difference – Race in Early Modern Philosophy - Princeton Scholarship Online
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Nature, Human Nature, and Human Difference: Race in Early Modern Philosophy

Justin E. H. Smith


People have always been xenophobic, but an explicit philosophical and scientific view of human racial difference only began to emerge during the modern period. Why and how did this happen? Surveying a range of philosophical and natural-scientific texts, dating from the Spanish Renaissance to the German Enlightenment, this book charts the evolution of the modern concept of race and shows that natural philosophy, particularly efforts to taxonomize and to order nature, played a crucial role. The book demonstrates how the denial of moral equality between Europeans and non-Europeans resulted from c ... More

Keywords: xenophobia, racial difference, modern period, moral equality, biological classification, racial typing, humanity, enslavement, trans-Atlantic slavery, modern racism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780691153643
Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017 DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691153643.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Justin E. H. Smith, author
Université Paris Diderot