3.1.2 – Human Capabilites and the Racial Contract

Interesting read, as I am thinking/writing on Mills and Nussbaum in my book ‘Resurrecting Slavery’ ..


Human capabilities and the racial contract: Avoiding the epistemology of ignorance of liberal contractarianism
Claudio D’Amato

Abstract: Global relations are largely shaped by what Charles Mills calls “the racial contract”: the sometimes explicit and sometimes unspoken agreement that social arrangements must favor whites over nonwhites. This bias is strong among white political philosophers and especially in the liberal contractarian theories of Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke, Kant, and, most recently, Rawls. While these theories pay lip service to nominal equality in the name of universalism, they also ignore the inequality and disadvantage that nonwhites suffer at the hands of whites, and thus they contribute to epistemic obscurantism and racial domination. In this paper, first, I strengthen Mills’s argument by providing an even more convincing objection against the procedural requirements of John Rawls’s theory of justice; second, I argue that this objection gives us a good reason to distinguish between Rawls’s liberal…

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