Luca Baccelli

¿Estos no son hombres? The Unexpected Dialectic of Humanity in the Controversy about America's Conquest

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The main characters of the debate about the legitimacy of the Conquista did not negate the humanity of the Indians. Rather, according to the Aristotelian anthropology, it included them in a lower level of humanity, so justifying both their servitude and the paternalistic burden of the Christian in submitting them in order to make them humaniores. That reveals the dangers and the "unexpected dialectic" connected with the notion of humanity. But in the same years Bartolomé de Las Casas acknowledged the mature humanity of the natives, their full rationality and political virtue together with the value of their ways of life and legal system: he initiated a symmetrical, pluralist and inclusive approach to cultural difference.


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