This volume adds a new dimension to current research on race theory by examining its historical roots in the works of major Western philosophers. The essays included in this book span a wide range of topics, including the opposition between Greek and "barbarian" in the works of Plato and Aristotle, the notion of racial difference employed in medieval Islamic thought, as well as the existence of racial categories within the social contract and Enlightenment theories of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant. The readings also discuss repercussions in the post-Enlightenment period in the views of Nietzsche, Mill, and Carlyle, and twentieth-century reflections on race in the thought of Heidegger, Dewey, Sartre, and Beauvoir. Philosophers on Race contributes to the increasing debate on the subject of race by elucidating the philosophical origins of race in Greek and medieval thought and the subsequent development of racial categories in modern Western philosophy.
"Critical race theory in philosophy has until now lagged behind the comparable feminist revisionist project on gender. This landmark collection of essays, ranging in scope from Plato to Dewey, represents a dramatic step forward in theoretically engaging the role of race in the work of central figures of the canon. After reading this text, no one will be able to claim in good faith that race is irrelevant to Western philosophy." Charles W. Mills, University of Illinois at Chicago
"This collection makes a splendid contribution to our understanding of the history of thinking on race and racism in the history of philosophy. It goes far to remedy what now appear as the thundering silences about racial and anti-racist thinking characteristic of standard histories of philosophy, and to counter prevalent simplistic reactions and generalizations on all sides of the issues." Sandra Harding, University of California, Los Angeles
"Skeptical scrutiny of the many ways in which Western philosophy has been enmeshed with the practices of slavery, dispossession of indigenous peoples, and anti-Semitism is, with the publication of Philosophers on Race, reaching its maturity. It is bringing into focus the inadequacy of our philosophical tradition's efforts to achieve self-consciousness about its own racism and about the deep meaning of being anti-racist. This book sets the terms for serious discussion of racism in the future." Anatole Anton, San Francisco State University
"In this distinguished collection, noted authorities explain how the idea of race informed the philosophies of Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Mill, Sartre, and others. It deepens our understanding not only of race, but also of Western philosophy." Bernard Boxill, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"This book would work well as a supplementary text in various philosophical courses. Indeed, it could be the major text in a course that examines issues of race and racism in Western philosophy... This is a provocative and very well written book." Ethics, April 2003
"This book offers a highly sophisticated, well-thought-out, and balanced treatment of a very delicate but much downplayed subject, namely, the role and significance of the views of celebrated Western philosophical forebears in shaping the discourse on race, racism, and oppression. As such, it provides a variety of very powerful critical lenses through which to re-examine the epistemological, metaphysical, and ethical claims of those philosophical icons whose views on race are interrogated." Clarence Shole Johnson, Middle Tennessee State University