How enlightened are we ?: Dialectical racism

Dhe year 2020 was also marked by an intense debate on the role of racism in European history of the Enlightenment. Racist statements by Immanuel Kant, the emblematic figure of the Enlightenment, were discussed, as were statements by the philosopher of freedom, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, most recently.

Attempts to prove a deep-seated racism to these great philosophers and thus discredit them and their thinking are contrasted with defense speeches that either argue that the racist utterances are due to the fact that the great thinkers are also to be seen as children of their time, who too could not be completely free from the prevailing prejudices, or who try to show that the philosophical path of thought as a whole should be interpreted as a process of breaking away from racist prejudices.

Both lines of argument leave the basic principles of the Enlightenment untouched.

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