2013 Abstracts Stage 2

Am I Not a Man and a Brother? The Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade: Great Britain’s Campaign for Human Equality

Rosemary Naylor, 2013, Stage 2

Can slavery be morally justified?
 Aristotle: Humans are not equal due to differing reasoning abilities. Slaves do not have a sufficient capacity to reason to warrant freedom. Slavery is in the best interest of the slave, the master and the polis.
 Augustine: Slavery is a form of punishment for original sin. Moral virtue can be increased as a result of being a slave to the body rather than to desires. God will reward slaves in heaven.
 Kant: All humans are equal. Slavery cannot be universalized without contradiction and treats humans as means to an end, thus it is immoral.

The importance of political freedom:
 Isaiah Berlin: The amount that society can interfere with an individual’s freedom depends on the natural rights theory of that society. Laws must conflict with a person’s natural rights to justify protest.
 Rawls: All humans have an equal claim to basic liberty and rights. Freedom is an inalienable basic right that slavery infringes upon.
Methods of political protest employed by abolitionists.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (Martin Luther King Jr.)

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