The Philosopher journal presents "Martin Luther King and the Emotions of Non-Violence":
Meena Krishnamurthy in conversation with Chiara Ricciardone
There is perhaps no piece by Martin Luther King, Jr. that is more widely read or more beloved than the “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Countless articles and books have been written about its generation and meaning. Despite this, its broader philosophical significance has for the large part been missed. While the “Letter” has exerted particular influence over philosophical debates over the justification of civil disobedience, it has scarcely been considered outside of this context. Political philosophers and theorists have not yet managed to fully appreciate and elucidate all that is going on in the “Letter” and to recognize its full import for political philosophy.
In this conversation with Chiara Ricciardone, political philosopher Meena Krishnamurthy will argue that King’s “Letter” is not merely a discussion of civil disobedience but is also – and perhaps even primarily – an essay on political motivation that appeals to the political emotions, both positive and negative. Indignation, distrust, and fear, as well as love, courage, and faith have an important role to play in his theory of nonviolence.
Meena Krishnamurthy is a political philosopher who works on race, democracy, and social movements. She is currently writing a book (The Emotions of Nonviolence) and a series of related papers on Martin Luther King Jr.’s political philosophy. meenakrishnamurthy.net / twitter.com/mkrishnamurthyX
Chiara Ricciardone is a writer and a philosopher. She is commissioning editor for The Philosopher and is currently working on a memoir of the pandemic in epistolary form (co-written with Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan). chiararicciardone.net / twitter.com/becomingchiara