Slavery in the Thought of Thomas Aquinas, Las Casas and Campanella
I am interested in slavery in a philosophical context because it is a defining problem of the meaning of humanity, given the fact that in ordinary understanding enslavement entails de-humanization and denial of humanity to the victims. In terms of life-experience and current affairs, for me as living in the United States, the ongoing effects of slavery before the Civil War in the mid-19th century are tangible every day. And in that context, justification of slavery is a widespread phenomenon. Not only the standard argument, "They, the Africans, were better off in America than they would have been at home," can still be heard, but also more subtle arguments are still on the market, particularly that the Church, Thomas Aquinas, and Aristotle, all justified slavery. I hope I can show that this is not the case, particularly when it comes to the dehumanization of slaves.