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Hume Studies

Volume 42, Issue 1/2, April/November 2016

Andre C. Willis
Pages 213-239

The Impact of David Hume’s Thoughts about Race for His Stance on Slavery and His Concept of Religion

Reconsidering David Hume’s thoughts about race using the methods of both Black critical thought and critical approaches in the study of religion can shed new light on the grounds of his response to slavery and his way of conceiving religion. This paper argues that Anglo-colonialist processes of racialization subjugated others based on both their physical and theistic “types.” Viewing Hume’s stance on slavery and his complicated writings on religion through the lens of these colonialist modes of racialization reveals that Hume’s commitment to the fixed hierarchy of races, his “rejection” of slavery, and his ‘history’ of religions serviced his belief in black inferiority and supported Anglo-colonialist domination.