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On InhumanityDehumanization and How to Resist It$
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David Livingstone Smith

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190923006

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190923006.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 October 2021

Defining Dehumanization

Defining Dehumanization

Chapter:
(p.17) 3 Defining Dehumanization
Source:
On Inhumanity
Author(s):

David Livingstone Smith

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190923006.003.0003

This chapter defines dehumanization. After emphasizing the importance of laying out a clear definition of the term, the chapter goes on to describe dehumanization as a kind of attitude—a way of thinking about others. To dehumanize another person, in short, is to conceive of them as a subhuman animal. People often mistake dehumanization for its effects on human behavior. This chapter argues that such notions make it much more difficult to comprehend how dehumanization works. When people think of others as subhuman, they often treat them in cruel and degrading ways, and they often refer to them using slurs. But the chapter contends that bad treatment and degrading slurs are effects of dehumanization rather than dehumanization itself.

Keywords:   subhuman animal, human behavior, dehumanizing attitudes, theory of dehumanization, cruelty, slurs

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