Week 6 Day 1: Anti-Slavery Arguments
• Locke: No one is meant to be subordinated to anyone else
• Kant: No one may be treated as mere means, everyone must be treated as ends in
• Locke: 2 largest in the Royal Africa Company
o Drafted constitution of the Carolinas, entrenching slaveholder rights
o Said that Africans needed to be disciplined with heavier sticks, because they had
Should we reject their ideas because they were consistent with racism? Or should we use their
ideas more consistently.
Locke’s Hidden Assumption
• All humans have the same nature
• Humans are natural subordinated to others if and only if they are vastly different in
• So, no humans are naturally subordinated to others
Aristotle had same assumption, different conclusion
• Humans are naturals subordinated to others if and only if they are vastly different in
• Some humans vastly different in nature
• So, some humans are naturally subordinate to others
• Slavery resulted from:
o Warfare: better then prisoners of war (in that way merciful, save lives)
o Death bondage: put self-up for collateral for money
Aristotle’s politics: Baker trans. Ch. V §. 6 p 13 • The soul rules over the body with the sort of authority of a master: mind rules the
appetite with the sort of authority of a statesman or a monarch
o Soul: the force that makes your body work properly, makes all of you work
• In this sphere it is clearly natural and beneficial to the body that it should be ruled by the
soul, and again it is natural and beneficial that it should be ruled by the mind and the
rational part; whereas the equality of the two elements, or their reverse relation, would
• What holds good in man’s inner life also holds good outside it …
o … it is better for animals that they should be ruled by men….
o … the relation of male to female is naturally that of the superior to the inferior – of
the ruling to the ruled.
• We may thus conclude that all men who differ from others as much as the body differs
from the soul, or an animal from a man … - all such are by nature slaves, and it is better
for them … to be ruled by a master.
o If X compares to Y as body compares to soul, then X ought to be ruled by Y.
o Barbarians compare to Athenians as body compares to soul.
o Barbarians ought to be ruled by Athenians as slaves.
Counter Argument: Tom Payne
• Capturing others who cause no injury is wrong. (18c. African wars were started by the
Brits, who cannot claim that enslavement is kinder than killing of prisoners.)
o Refutes mercy arguement
• Each person, the one and only true owner of his freedom, and is entitled to reclaim it any
• Slavery is not universalizable.
• People who have not forfeited freedom retain a natural and perfect right to it. o Lockean natural right
• Slavery is enormously harmful, especially to families.
• Being born into slavery is especially unjust for children, who are naturally born free.
o Lockean natural right
Counter Argument: James Forten
• Natural rights belong to all.
o Natural rights are binding independently