The Non-identity Problem and «Historical Victims»

Marcos Alonso, Rodrigo Escribano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent decades have seen a considerable and progressive increase in historical claims. Within the context of colonialism criticism, but also outside this sphere, numerous politicians, collectives and intellectuals have emerged to denounce certain acts of the past, demanding recognition and repentance that would compensate for these past affronts. In this article we will analyze one of these cases: the demand for an apology from Spain and the Vatican by the President of Mexico, López Obrador. Taking as a guide the debate around the ethical problem of non-identity (which questions the possibility of someone being a victim of an act on which his or her own existence depends), we will see what ethical and metaphysical assumptions serve as the basis for these claims. We will also assess whether the claims of the so-called «historical victims» are consistent and ethically acceptable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-384
Number of pages16
JournalPhilosophia (United States)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Applied ethics
  • Colonialism
  • History
  • Non-identity
  • Politics of regret


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