African-American philosophy: Through the lens of socio-existential struggle

Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (5):551-574 (2011)
In this article I argue that African-American philosophy emerges from a socio-existential context where persons of African descent have been faced with the absurd in the form of white racism. The concept of struggle, given the above, functions as both descriptive and heuristic vis-à-vis the meaning of African-American philosophy. Expanding upon Charles Mills’ concept of non-Cartesian sums, I demonstrate the inextricable link between Black lived experience, struggle, and the morphology of meta-philosophical assumptions and philosophical problems specific to African-American philosophy. Then, I provide a sketch of two early African-American philosophers whose philosophical work is, though neglected, indispensable to African-American philosophical legitimating practices and whose work is informed by the defining motif of struggle. Lastly, I demonstrate the efforts of Africana philosophers at creating philosophical sites that nurture a sense of shared struggle and community
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DOI 10.1177/0191453711399252
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