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[Correspondence] On Hume and planetary health

In a plea for justice in planetary health, Richard Horton (June 9, p 2307)1 cited philosopher David Hume to argue that humans have the ability to choose their own path. Hume, however, is a source of discourse in planetary health for entirely different reasons. His bigotry, racism, and references to savages2 are, ironically, representative of the complex issues of power, elitism, racism, xenophobia, and lack of choice that Horton outlined. Hume wrote for the elites;3 his appalling beliefs about the indigenous people of the circumpolar regions and tropics as “inferior to the rest of the species” and non-whites as “naturally inferior to the whites”4 are indicative of systems of thought persistent today, built on racial and ethnic hierarchy.

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