Objectionable Commemorations: Ethical and Political Issues



Lim C & Lai T (2024) Objectionable Commemorations: Ethical and Political Issues. Philosophy Compass.

The term, "objectionable commemorations”, refers to a broad category of public artefacts – such as, and especially, memorials, monuments and statues – that are regarded as morally problematic in virtue of what or whom they honour. In this regard, they are a special class of public artefacts that are subject to public contestation. In this paper, we survey the general ethical and political issues on this topic. First, we categorise the arguments on offer in the literature, concerning the objectionable nature of such commemorations. Second, we review common political responses to objectionable commemorations. Finally, we identify fruitful areas for further philosophical inquiry on this topic.

Commemorations; statues and monuments; morality; political honours; political speech; public space; collective history; decolonisation

Publication date online28/02/2024
Date accepted by journal24/01/2024

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Dr Ten-Herng Lai

Dr Ten-Herng Lai

Lecturer in Philosophy, Philosophy