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Less Than Human

Author

David Livingston Smith

Published Date

27-02-2012

Publisher

St Martin's Press

ISBN

9781250003836

"Dehumanization is the ability to see fellow men and women as less than human. What is it about the human mind that makes it possible for one group of people to think of another group as subhuman and where do we look for solutions to the problem of dehumanization?"

About this book

Dehumanization is the ability to see fellow men and women as less than human; to see them as subhuman creatures. Dehumanization breaks down moral hindrances by diminishing perceptions of victims as fellow human beings worthy of concern. In Less Than Human, David Livingstone Smith, a philosophy professor explores the concept of dehumanisation and why investigating it is worthwhile. Why do humans who dehumanize think of their victims as subhuman not just in some figurative or metaphorical sense? They call the victims vermin or rats, which in the process of naming them rationalize cruelty and oppression. Dehumanization is the psychological capacity to deny the humanity of others, to relegate people to the status of subhuman. It is rooted in human nature as our innate predisposition to categorize living things into species and humans into ethnic groups. It facilitates acts of violence in genocide and atrocities. What is it about the human mind that makes it possible for one group of people to think of another group as subhuman and where do we look for solutions to the problem of dehumanization?

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