Cornel West's reputation as a public and celebrity intellectual has overshadowed his important contributions to philosophy. Professor Clarence Shole Johnson provides a rectification of this situation in this benchmark, thought-provoking book. After a brief biographical sketch, Johnson leads us through a comprehensive examination of West's philosophy from his conceptions of pragmatism, existentialism, Marxism, and Prophetic Christianity to his persuasive writings on black-Jewish relations, affirmative action, and the role of black intellectuals. Special focus is given to West's writings on ethics (...) and social justice, and how these inform his entire theoretical framework. Cornel West and Philosophy is a unique and indispensable guide to West's diverse philosophical writings. (shrink)
1. The Place of IntellectualLife: The University -- The University as an Institutional Solution to the Problem of Knowledge -- The Alienability of Knowledge in Our So-called Knowledge Society -- The Knowledge Society as Capitalism of the Third Order -- Will the University Survive the Era of Knowledge Management? -- Postmodernism as an Anti-university Movement -- Regaining the University's Critical Edge by Historicizing the Curriculum -- Affirmative Action as a Strategy for Redressing the Balance Between Research and (...) Teaching -- Academics Rediscover Their Soul: The Rebirth of Academic Freedom' -- 2. The Stuff of IntellectualLife: Philosophy -- Epistemology as 'Always Already' Social Epistemology -- From Social Epistemology to the Sociology of Philosophy: The Codification of Professional Prejudices? -- Interlude: Seeds of an Alternative Sociology of Philosophy -- Prolegomena to a Critical Sociology of Twentieth-century Anglophone Philosophy -- Analytic Philosophy's Ambivalence Toward the Empirical Sciences -- Professionalism as Differentiating American and British Philosophy -- Conclusion: Anglophone Philosophy as a Victim of Its Own Success -- 3. The People of IntellectualLife: Intellectuals -- Can Intellectuals Survive if the Academy Is a No-fool Zone? -- How Intellectuals Became an Endangered Species in Our Times: The Trail of Psychologism -- A Genealogy of Anti-intellectualism: From Invisible Hand to Social Contagion -- Re-defining the Intellectual as an Agent of Distributive Justice -- The Critique of Intellectuals in a Time of Pragmatist Captivity -- Pierre Bourdieu: The Academic Sociologist as Public Intellectual -- 4. The Improvisational Nature of IntellectualLife -- Academics Caught Between Plagiarism and Bullshit -- Bullshit: A Disease Whose Cure Is Always Worse -- The Scientific Method as a Search for the (Piled) Higher (and Deeper) Bullshit -- Conclusion: How to Improvize on the World-historic Stage -- Summary of the Argument. (shrink)
This study explores the ethical ideol-ogies and ethical beliefs of African American consumers using the Forsyth ethical position questionnaire (EPQ) and the Muncy-Vitell consumer ethics questionnaire (MVQ). The two dimensions of the EPQ (i.e., idealism and relativism) were the independent constructs and the four dimensions of the MVQ (i.e., illegal, active, passive and no harm) were the dependent variables. In addition, this paper explores the consumer ethics of AfricanAmericans across four demographic factors (i.e., age, education, gender, (...) and marital status). A sample of 315 African American consumers was used to explore these relationships. Results confirmed that consumers who score high on the idealism scale are more likely to reject questionable consumer activities, but there was no relationship between relativism and consumers'' rejection of questionable activities. Older, more educated and married consumers rejected questionable activities more than younger, less educated and single consumers. Gender did not have any significant relationship to consumers'' ethical orientation. (shrink)
In this timely book, Eddie S. Glaude Jr., one of our nation’s rising young African American intellectuals, makes an impassioned plea for black America to address its social problems by recourse to experience and with an eye set on the promise and potential of the future, rather than the fixed ideas and categories of the past. Central to Glaude’s mission is a rehabilitation of philosopher John Dewey, whose ideas, he argues, can be fruitfully applied to a renewal of (...) class='Hi'>African American politics. According to Glaude, Dewey’s pragmatism, when attentive to the darker dimensions of life—or what we often speak of as the blues—can address many of the conceptual problems that plague contemporary African American discourse. How blacks think about themselves, how they imagine their own history, and how they conceive of their own actions can be rendered in ways that escape bad ways of thinking that assume a tendentious political unity among AfricanAmericans simply because they are black, or that short-circuit imaginative responses to problems confronting actual black people. Drawing deeply on black religious thought and literature, In a Shade of Blue seeks to dislodge such crude and simplistic thinking, and replace it with a deeper understanding of and appreciation for black life in all its variety and intricacy. Only when black political leaders acknowledge such complexity, Glaude argues, can the real-life sufferings of many AfricanAmericans be remedied. Heady, inspirational, and brimming with practical wisdom, In a Shade of Blue is a remarkable work of political commentary on a scale rarely seen today. To follow its trajectory is to learn how AfricanAmericans arrived at this critical moment in their history and to envision where they might head in the twenty-first century. (shrink)
This paper is an analysis of comparative multiculturalisms. Starting from the historical reality that both the Roma and the African-Americans were reified through slavery and discriminated against because of their racial visibility, the author analyses the position of the two groups in the Romanian, namely, the American society. The lead of the African-Americans in overcoming the racial stigma is explained by the author through: the opportunities offered by a powerful and consolidated democracy, and by the existence (...) of an elite of the minority group. These factors should be envisaged by Romanian society when trying to make both the minority and the majority cooperate in order to avoid the transformation of the Roma into an under-class group, a great challenge with a view to Romania’s integration into the EU structures. (shrink)
In Maurice Blondel’s work, the problem of immortality is dealt with in terms of one’s resolution of the problem of human destiny articulated in the form of a self-determinative option. Although this option can take many determinate forms, it is ultimately one between egoism and selfishness or mortification and charity. In the course of this paper, I outline this opposition and indicate in particular how it bears on intellectuallife and culture. For Blondel, the theoretical and the practical (...) could not be neatly separated; thinking and expression are forms of action, and action requires structuring for its intelligibility and fruition. One commits oneself and forms the elements of one’s ultimate judgment, not only by what one does, but also by what one says or thinks, what doctrines and institutions one commits oneself to. (shrink)
Creative activities in a classroom can often be mistaken for negligence of academic requirements. This is especially true for many African American students. Recognition of the mental processes used in the expression of creative behaviors should give teachers the opportunity to harness this creative energy to develop academic skills. This article draws upon a historical perspective of creativity and its relationship to this trait in AfricanAmericans. Although many of the behaviors listed are common in all ethnic (...) groups those behaviors listed as uniquely evident among African American students are derived from assumptions made from experiences by various scholars, research documents and historical data. Strategies for addressing and enhancing these creative behaviors are included. (shrink)
Traditional African American foods, also referred to as “soul food,” are often given a blanket label of “poor food choices.” The cultural value of these ethnic foods may be disregarded without sufficient study of their nutrient content. This study showed that of the various foods perceived as traditionally African American by the local sampled population, greens were the most often identified as such by 78% and the most frequently consumed (22%) by the subjects. 37% perceived chitterlings as a (...) traditional food, yet only 30% consumed them, and only on an occasional basis. Okra, yams, and black-eyed peas had relatively high consumptions but were not often perceived as traditional African American foods. The latter may suggests a lack of historical food facts, relating to indigenous African foods or may indicate the mainstreaming of these foods. Cowpeas or black-eyed peas, okra, sesame seeds, and watermelon seeds were originally brought to North America from Africa. The literature contains scant information on this particular topic, which leaves unanswered: (1) the current consumption of traditional foods by AfricanAmericans, (2) certain availability of these foods; and (3) the positive contributions to the diet that these foods may contribute. The author recognizes that “African American” is the most appropriate and preferred term used widely today, to refer to African descendants in North America, however “Black” and “Black American” will be used interchangeably, to reflect consistency of literature cited herein. First, this article will define traditional African American foods and relate their historical significance. Secondly, it will present data on current food consumption from a sample population of AfricanAmericans surveyed in San Diego. Lastly, this article will explore possible applications of the research itself. (shrink)
Philosophers often entertain positions that they themselves do not hold. This article is an example of this. While I do not advocate localized acts of violence to combat white supremacy, I think that it is worthwhile to explore why it might be theoretically justifiable for some AfricanAmericans to commit such acts of violence. I contend that acts of localized violence are at least theoretical justifiable for some AfricanAmericans from the vantage point of racial realism. (...) Yet, I also contend that the likely detrimental consequences of engaging in such violence on economically disadvantaged AfricanAmericans outweigh its possible benefits for them; hence, it should not be used by them to combat white supremacy presently. (shrink)
A special issue of The Philosophical Forum , one of the most prestigious philosophy journals, is now available to a wider readership through its publication in book form. The volume includes twelve essays in three sections-- Philosophical Traditions; the African-American Tradition; and Racism, Identity, and Social Life. Contributors are: K. Anthony Appiah, Kwasi Wiredu, Lucius Outlaw, Leonard Harris, Bernard Boxill, Frank M. Kirkland, Tommy L. Lott, Adrian M.S. Piper, Laurence Thomas, Michele M. Moody-Adams, Anita L. Allen, and Howard (...) McGary. The introduction is by John P. Pittman. (shrink)
There are seminal works in historiography which, while significantly furthering our comprehension of a certain age or topic, have also the merit of opening new avenues for research. The books and studies of Professor Leon Volovici dedicated to modern anti-Semitism and Jewish cultural life in Romania do represent such fundamental works, bringing key contributions to the knowledge and understanding of intellectual anti-Semitism and the debates circumscribed to the Jewish-Romanian circles. The works dedicated to intellectual anti-Semitism focused on (...) the second decade of the inter-war period offer a complex and nuanced image of the relationship between the anti-Semitism ideas and stereotypes and the evolution of the nationalistic ideology in Romania. In what concerns the topic of intellectuallife in Romania, Leon Volovici observes and analyses the multitude of issues brought to the fore by the Jewish cultural phenomenon from Romania, constantly questioning both its causes and long-lasting consequences. Insightful observer of the status of Jewish intelligentsia, the historian highlights in his work the acculturation process and the socio-cultural integration of an important part of Romanian Jewish community. At the same time, he proposes an analysis of cultural dilemmas provoked by the aspirations of those Jewish intellectuals keen to become Romanian writers, fully integrated into the Romanian culture. As a conclusion, it can be noted that the dilemmas of the Jewish intellectual did affect Leon Volovici himself. The historian admitting in fact that his latest book De la Iasi la Ierusalim si inapoi (From Iasi to Jerusalem and backward) is an attempt of self-understanding, selfidentification, a return to the Jewish circle from which he originates and a rediscovering of his cultural roots. (shrink)
Although the idea of intellectual property (IP) rights—proprietary rights to what one invents, writes, paints, composes or creates—is firmlyembedded in Western thinking, these rights are now being challenged across the globe in a number of areas. This paper will focus on one of these challenges: government-sanctioned copying of patented drugs without permission or license of the patent owner in the name of national security, in health emergencies, or life-threatening epidemics. After discussing standard rights-based and utilitarian arguments defending (...) class='Hi'>intellectual property we will present another model. IP is almost always a result of a long history of scientific or technological development and numbers of networks of creativity, not the act of a single person or a group of people at one moment in time. Thus thinking about and evaluating IP requires thinking about IP as shared rights. A network approach to IP challenges a traditional model of IP. It follows that the owner of those rights has some obligations to share that information or its outcomes. If that conclusion is applied to the distribution of antiretroviral drugs, what pharmaceutical companies are ethically required to do to increase access to these medicines in the developing world will have to be reanalyzed from a more systemic perspective. (shrink)
Nancy Gardner Prince began writing and self-publishing A Narrative of the Life and Travels of Mrs. Nancy Prince in the 1850s, at a time when few African American women had the ability to do so. Her story tells of diaspora and of the systematic economic, cultural, and political oppression of free AfricanAmericans in the antebellum North. Raised by a mother unable to cope with the economic and emotional burden of raising eight children on her own, (...) Prince spends much of her youth working as a domestic servant in white households. After a long, mostly unsuccessful struggle to maintain family unity, Prince makes the decision to improve her circumstances, marrying sailor Nero Prince after a brief courtship and .. (shrink)
In this thesis we have examined the complex interaction between intellectual property rights, life sciences and global justice. Science and the innovations developed in its wake have an enormous effect on our daily lives, providing countless opportunities but also raising numerous problems of justice. The complexity of a problem however does not liberate society as a whole from moral responsibilities. Our intellectual property regimes clash at various points with human rights law and commonly held notions of justice.
Analysis of previous literature on the role of food in life in France and the United States suggests some fundamental differences in attitudes which may generalize outside of the food domain. Questionnaire results from French and American adults suggest that, compared to the French, Americans emphasize quantity rather than quality in making choices, Americans have a higher preference for variety, and Americans usually prefer comforts (things that make life easier) over joys (unique things that make (...)life interesting). The American preference for quantity over quality is discussed in terms of the American focus on abundance as opposed to the French preference for moderation. The American preference for variety is reflective of Americans’ more personal as opposed to communal food and other values. (shrink)
Locke, Johnson, and other like-minded black intellectuals of the twenties attempted to construct a basic framework of resistance to racial domination. Their turning toward Afro-American “folk-culture,” and to “ancestral” Africa, was a bold effort to appropriate the very domains which had been declared “primitive” and “savage,” and to transform those domains through an analysis which clarified their deep-rooted positive values. For a time in which “Negro” folk-lore was associated with blackface minstrels and Africa was associated with sub-humans, the work of (...) Locke and others was courageous in its reach.However, the turn to the rural South and to Africa involves a basic artifactual dimension. Locke et al. presented the folk-culture of the South as “fragile” and moving rapidly to the vanishing-point. Africa's glories were shrouded in the past and portrayed as the work of long-gone ancestors. The primary importance of the rural South and African cultures was that they were dying and distant. As largely forgotten artifacts, these cultural remains were essentially passive. The role the Lockean intellectuals assumed was to breathe life into these dry bones; to give them new form, a form sophisticated and modern, yet grounded in the past. The energy of the folk had produced these cultures, but the black intellectuals would turn them into a living culture. In taking this position, Locke and his followers turned away from the people as they were, for the people were either long gone or had forsaken their own cultural heritage. The people had potential, but they were as yet “raw and inarticulate.” In Locke's view, the essential task of the black intellectuals was to provide a basic world-view within which the masses could develop a conscious understanding of their worth. From The New Negro perspective, the rapidly urbanizing black population would be even more susceptible to racist manipulation, and would be even more prey to self-denigration. It would lack the cultural stamina to recognize the value of the past. The black intellectuals, culturally conscious and historically alert, would have to play the necessary vanguard role.Through our reading of Schomburg we can view the problem of Afro-American culture differently. The people have, on their own, managed to bridge the gaps caused by slavery and urbanization; they have constructed a.body of knowledge historically rooted, yet flexibly receptive to changing time and place. In constructing this knowledge, black people have formed an important means of communality and group identity which serves as a bulwark against subordination to the politically dominant society. As a product of the home, as a creation of the people, Afro-American cooking is resistant to cultural absorption. As a living knowledge, moreover, still functioning in the hands of its creators, Afro-American cooking cannot be seen as a lost or dying phenomenon.Even a narrow reading of Schomburg's proposal, which restricts the discussion to cooking, must recognize the tremendous impact of his suggestions. Cooking, a crucial dimension of culture, is one concrete example with which we can contradict the appearance of unconscious and fragile Afro-American culture, just as we can answer arguments about the vanguard role of the intellectuals. In his book Cooking, Cuisine, and Class: A Study in Comparative Sociology, (Cambridge, 1982), Jack Goody argues that cooking operates as an unconscious depiction of social structure. Schomburg's emphasis, we have seen, was quite different. For him Afro-Ameri-can cooking had a deliberate conscious dimension and served as an overt means of communication among black people. For a critique of Goody, which parallels some of Schomburg's perspective, see Ernest Gellner's “No Haute Cuisine in Africa.” London Review of Books 2–15 September 1982, 22–24. But, clearly, we can also read Schomburg in a broader sense and draw out more expansive understandings. Cooking is part of a wider phenomenon. The culinary knowledge of black America is emblematic of the basic strength and continuity of Afro-American culture itself. The people have and will continue to create and recreate culture; they will keep on keeping on regardless of whether the intellectuals analyze, write, or paint. Consequently the role of the intellectuals is not to create form where there is none; not to systematize what Locke called the “raw” energy of the people, it is to illuminate the very intricacy and strength of the peoples' thought. But who is it that benefits from such illumination? First and foremost it is the intellectuals themselves who gain the most. Adrift and veering from the folk, the intellectuals can reduce their alienation from their people, and so counteract their own subordination to the wider society they confront in their academic enclaves. Always that academic part of the ruling center attempts to accentuate and glorify its own culture as an idol under the name of “scientific objectivity,” or “detachment.” Concern by black intellectuals for the pressing problems of oppression and liberation are judged as “biased,” “ideological,” and “emotional.” Consequently the very act of analyzing and portraying Afro-American culture is an important buttress against the domination which goes under the banner of this “objective” idol. The analysis of Afro-American culture is a crucial step in the growth of politically engaged and critically conscious intellectuals. The information the intellectuals uncover and the analyses they make, may also actually be of some use to the people. To the degree that art can merge with tradition, and scholarly analysis fuse with the peoples' understandings, the intellectuals may join with the people as contributors to the common-work of developing and strengthening Afro-American culture. We can thus arrive at a position that neither takes an anti-intellectual stance nor adopts an elitist emphasis. If these searchers and describers of Afro-American culture become pretentious and assume that without their activity the people are lost then their search can be dangerous. But if the search for culture, if its description through literature and the arts, provides generally useful information and perspectives then the work of the intellectuals is important. When intellectuals recognize that their own alienation and resultant vulnerability to the dictates of the dominant society make their search for culture a crucial means of self-emancipation, when they see themselves as humble contributors to, rather than the pivot of, cultural resiliance, then the way is cleared for them to partake fully and fruitfully in that long, liberating march against oppression. (shrink)
The Human Genome Project (HGP) represents a massive merging of science and technology in the name of all humanity. While the disease aspects of HGP-generated data have received the greatest publicity and are the strongest rationale for the project, it should be remembered that the HGP has, as its goal the sequencing of all 100,000 human genes and the accurate depiction of the ancestral and functional relationships among these genes. The HGP will thus be constructing the molecular taxonomic norm for (...) humanity. Currently the HGP genomic baseline is almost exclusively skewed toward North Atlantic European lineages through the extensive use of the Centre d’Études du Polymorphisme Humaine (CEPH) data set. More recently, the HGP has shifted to the use of volunteer donors since adequate informed consent had not been secured from the CEPH families. No evidence exists that either the CEPH families or the current volunteers are the most appropriate demographic or evolutionary lineages for the functional genomic studies that will guide production of new DNA based drugs, targeted therapeutics and gene-based diagnostics. The lack of scientific representativeness of the HGP is a serious impediment to its broad applicability. Yet this can be remedied, and five alternative sampling strategies are presented. In response to the current exclusionary design of the HGP, there is noteworthy caution and skepticism in the African American community concerning genetic studies. The Manifesto on Genomic Studies Among AfricanAmericans reflects both a desire to be systematically included in federally funded genomic studies and a desire to maintain some control over the interpretation and application of research results. Representative sampling in the HGP is seen as an international human rights issue with domestic ethical implications. (shrink)
This article offers a new explanation for the sudden rise in popularity of French existentialism, in particular of Sartre’s version, in the mid-1940s. It develops a multidimensional account that recognizes both structural and cultural factors. The explanation differs from, and more fully addresses the complexity of the situation than, the two most prominent existing explanations: namely Anna Boschetti’s Bourdieu-inspired account and Randall Collins’s network-based approach. It is argued that, because of specific socio-political circumstances, the intellectual establishment became tainted and (...) lost legitimacy, with its aesthetic and philosophical views now regarded as outdated if not politically dangerous. This hiatus brought unprecedented publishing opportunities for a new philosophical current, and skilful public performances by the main protagonists helped its ascendancy. Most importantly, existentialist writers colluded with de Gaulle in portraying a cohesive and defiant French nation; and their philosophy, especially in its notion of responsibility, enabled sections of French society to assimilate and make sense of the recent past, whilst drawing a line underneath it so as to move forward. (shrink)
This controversial book is an impassioned African response to the racial stereotyping of African people and people of African descent by prominent white scholars. It highlights how the media contributes to the growth of racist ideas, particularly in reporting current events in Africa, and demonstrates how some of America’s most revered intellectuals cloak racist ideologies in ostensibly egalitarian discourses. The author seeks to rewrite the image of 'race' in order to show the damage racism can cause serious (...) scholarship. (shrink)
This paper contends that African-centered models of psychopathology represent a heretical challenge to orthodox North American Mental Health. Heresy is the defiant rejection of ideology from a smaller community within the orthodoxy. African-centered models of psychopathology use much of the same language and ideas about the diagnostic process as Western psychiatry and clinical psychology but explicitly reject the ideological foundations of illness definition. The nature of the heretical critique is discussed, and implications for the future of this school (...) of thought are offered. (shrink)
Is racism in the United States alive and well? Do AfricanAmericans still experience alienation and social injustice because of racism? What are the various proposals that have been tendered by conservatives and liberals for overcoming racism? Can interracial coalitions be used as an effective tool for combating racism? I attempt to answer these questions in part by offering an analysis of Cornel West''s interracial coalition proposal in Race Matters.
This paper provides an account of reparationsin general and then presents briefly oneexplanation of why many present day AfricanAmericans believe they are entitled toreparations from the U.S. Government.This explanation should not be seen as a finaljustification, but only as an indication whythe demand for reparations for AfricanAmericans might be seen a plausible. Next, ifit is reasonable to assume that reparations toAfrican Americans are plausible, I then go onto explain why reparations might be necessaryto fill the breech that is perceived (...) to existbetween many AfricanAmericans and theirgovernment. This explanation will involve anexamination of the relationship between threeconcepts: forgiveness, reconciliation, andreparations. Then I explore why an apology orreparations for slavery and Jim Crow might benecessary for reconciliation between manyAfrican Americans and their government.Finally, I examine the contention that thelegislative process can be used to obtain anapology or reparations from the government. (shrink)
Abstract: This article provides an account of the meaning of reparations and presents a brief explanation as to why AfricanAmericans believe they are entitled to reparations from the United States government. It then goes on to explain why reparations are necessary to address the distrust that is thought to exist between many AfricanAmericans and their government. Finally, it rejects the belief that reparations require reconciliation.
This chapter traces how theism was developed by leading 19th and 20th century figures (Schleiermacher, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Rahner, and Tillich) responding to Kant’s Copernican revolution in philosophy. Part one deals with the ontological nature of subjectivity itself and what it reveals about the conditions of the possibility of a subject’s relation to the Absolute. Part two explores the role of subjectivity and interiority in the individual’s relation to God, and part three takes a look at the theme of the (...) “unhappy consciousness,” how its development led to important attacks on theism, and the resources available to theology in countering these attacks. (shrink)
The U.S. Civil War chained slave emancipation to war's violence, destruction and deprivation. The resulting health crisis, including illness, injury, and trauma, had immediate and lasting consequences. This essay explores the impact of ideas about race on the U.S. military's health care provisions and treatment of former slaves, both civilians and soldiers.