A Metaphysics of DehumanizationSuzy Killmister (Monash University)
250 Victoria Parade
Most accounts of dehumanization treat it as a matter of psychology: to dehumanize someone is to see them as less than human. In this talk I take a very different approach. To dehumanize someone, I suggest, can be fruitfully understood as a metaphysical move - it is an attempt to remove them from the category of the human. Crucially, 'the human' here is to be understood as a social construction, rather than a biological fact. In this talk I'll explain the limitations of the psychological approach; sketch the theory of the human from which my account of dehumanization is drawn; and consider some of the implications of conceiving of dehumanization as excommunication from a social kind.
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