Martin Luther King, Jr. famously expressed his dream that his children would one day not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. In his vision, a person's ethical qualities would be understood in spite of his or her body rather than through it. In general, we think that a person's actions should not be judged according to their physical features, such as race. In fact, we see evaluations based on a subject's race or other bodily traits as illegitimate. But Stain Removal argues that our perception of a person's actions always entails judgments of the body. It therefore challenges modern moral theory's premise that a subject's deeds and not its bodily traits count as primary objects of evaluation. Drawing on modern and pre-modern accounts of how ethical knowledge originates, from the Biblical story of Ham, to Socrates, Immanuel Kant, Alain Locke, Frantz Fanon, Langston Hughes, Onora O'Neill, and Louis Althusser, the book suggests that our recognition of both a person and that person's deeds demands an evaluative context. From this it proposes that all perception is evaluative perception. Through the metaphor of the stain, J. Reid Miller traces the long history of thought suggesting that embodiments like race can and do signify ethical qualities. He argues that these qualities do not attach to subjects from the outside-like a stain on innocent and unraced beings-but are instead what allow us to see people as distinct ethical individuals. The objective of ethics, he shows, is not to determine whether race is good or bad but to illustrate how our unique personal traits emerge through our multiple relations to others. The consequence is that, contrary to King's vision, it is only through judgments of skin and other bodily features that the ethical content of subjects can be recognized.
Miller's book is a short, dense, brilliant, and fascinating work that is very important for its historical and phenomenological depth of analysis. * Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews * Stain Removal is a tour de force treatment and critique of philosophical efforts to separate ethics and moral discourses from racial ones. A remarkable work. - Lewis R. Gordon, author of Disciplinary Decadence and What Fanon Said This is an extraordinary, powerful, difficult book. In a tight, fiercely argued set of chapters, Miller makes the case against the separation of ethics and race, showing their inextricable entanglement from the earliest texts on these questions to the present. Witty, always passionately lucid, the author assembles a devastating critique, leading the reader to his conclusions, which are a revelation. - Page duBois, author of Slaves and Other Objects With uncommon brilliance and humor, Stain Removal decimates liberal fantasies of unmarked reciprocity: that we might be evaluated for the content of our character, that we all begin as innocent subjects, that race is prior to judgment, and that ethics is prior to value. Instead, Miller argues that race and ethics cannot be separated, and neither term will cede to the other. This tour de force brings critical race theory and philosophy together without the possibility of divorce. - David L. Eng, University of Pennsylvania
Editore Oxford University Press Inc
Formato Paperback / softback
Isbn o codice id 9780190055875