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On Inhumanity

David Livingstone Smith

Warwick’s presents
David Livingstone Smith
in conversation with Eric Schwitzgebel

On Inhumanity

Tuesday, September 29, 2020 - 4:00pm PDT

On Inhumanity
buy the book

This is a virtual event on Facebook Live.

On Tuesday, September 29th at 4:00pm PDT Warwick's will host David Livingstone Smith as he discusses his new book, On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It, in conversation with Eric Schwitzgebel. David Livingstone Smith is Professor of Philosophy at the University of New England. He has published nine books, including  Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave and Exterminate Others, which won the 2012 Anisfield-Wolf award for nonfiction. David is an interdisciplinary scholar, whose publications are cited not only by other philosophers, but also by historians, legal scholars, psychologists, and anthropologists. He has been featured in several prime-time television documentaries, is often interviewed and cited in the national and international media, and was a guest at the 2012 G20 economic summit, where he spoke about dehumanization and mass violence.

The Rwandan genocide, the Holocaust, the lynching of African Americans, the colonial slave trade: these are horrific episodes of mass violence spawned from racism and hatred. We like to think that we could never see such evils again - that we would stand up and fight. But something deep in the human psyche - deeper than prejudice itself - leads people to persecute the other: dehumanization, or the human propensity to think of others as less than human.

An award-winning author and philosopher, Smith takes an unflinching look at the mechanisms of the mind that encourage us to see someone as less than human. There is something peculiar and horrifying in human psychology that makes us vulnerable to thinking of whole groups of people as subhuman creatures. When governments or other groups stand to gain by exploiting this innate propensity, and know just how to manipulate words and images to trigger it, there is no limit to the violence and hatred that can result.

Drawing on numerous historical and contemporary cases and recent psychological research, On Inhumanity is the first accessible guide to the phenomenon of dehumanization. In particular, he considers the uncomfortable kinship between racism and dehumanization, where beliefs involving race are so often precursors to dehumanization and the horrors that flow from it.

On Inhumanity is bracing and vital reading in a world lurching towards authoritarian political regimes, resurgent white nationalism, refugee crises that breed nativist hostility, and fast-spreading racist rhetoric.

Eric Schwitzgebel is Professor of Philosophy at University of California, Riverside. He has published three books - most recently, A Theory of Jerks and Other Philosophical Misadventures with MIT Press - and over a hundred articles in philosophy, psychology, and popular media. Much of his work concerns the relationship between philosophical moral reflection and real-world moral choice.

On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It Cover Image
ISBN: 9780190923006
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-5 Days
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - July 1st, 2020