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CPP Colloquium with Katrin Flikschuh: Philosophical Racism

  • Katrin Flikschuh (London School of Economics and Political Science)
Thursday 7 December 2017
CPP Colloquia 2017-2018
P.J. Veth
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden

The Center for Political Philosophy in Leiden is pleased to announce a talk by

Katrin Flikschuh (The London School of Economics and Political Science)



Philosophical Racism

There are two dominant ways of broaching the problem of racism in contemporary philosophy: one takes a historical perspective, focusing on the racist views of particular thinkers; the other explores contemporary social racism, often under the heading of ‘racial injustice’. Both approaches assume that racism is not a problem in philosophy as a form of thought now; rather, philosophy contributes to the resolution of racism’s historical and social imprint. Historical approaches show how difficult it is to diagnose racist philosophical thinking: would Kant’s epistemology have taken a substantially different form, for example, if he had not held socially racist views? My interest here is with the possibility of racist philosophical thinking now. I ask whether we can formulate a plausible conception of distinctly philosophical racism and, if so, how we may diagnose its continuing presence in contemporary philosophical thinking. While current debates on ‘racial justice’ typically draw on the African- American experience, my focus is on African thinkers’ experience and diagnosis of philosophical racism in the Western tradition. For African thinkers the question arises as to how to insert themselves, as thinkers, in philosophical debates marked by unacknowledged racist elements. My question is how acknowledgement of the possibility of ongoing racist legacies within our tradition should inform our understanding of what it may mean to engage in philosophical thinking now.


Katrin Flikschuh is Professor of Modern Political Theory at the LSE. She specialises in Kant’s practical philosophy and its relation to contemporary liberalism and, more recently, in modern African philosophical thought. She is Principal Investigator of a Leverhulme Trust funded project that seeks to engage African and Western thinkers with each other. He most recent publication is What is Orientation in Global Thinking? A Kantian Inquiry (CUP 2017).

About the Center for Political Philosophy (CPP) Colloquia Series

The CPP is a collaboration between the Institute for Philosophy and the Institute for Political Science at Leiden University. Attendance of the Colloquia is free and there is no need to register. See CPP for more information. For further questions please contact dr. Dorota Mokrosinska at d.m.mokrosinska@phil.leidenuniv.nl

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