Philosophy of the Americas

Edited by Susana Nuccetelli (St. Cloud State University, City University of New York)
Assistant editor: Gregory Fernando Pappas (Texas A&M University, University of Texas at Austin)
About this topic

This category comprises works that explore a wide range of problems and arguments developed in North America and Latin America. The reader should expect to find a great variety of philosophical traditions represented here. In some sub-categories (viz., African American philosophy, Latin American philosophy, and Native American philosophy), questions about cultural, racial, and ethnic identity play a central role. On the other hand, American philosophy includes works devoted to questions that have puzzled Western philosophers since Antiquity, such as the nature of mind, God, justice, etc. Pragmatism, one of the main contributions of American philosophy to the discipline of philosophy, is well represented under this sub-category.

Key works

The most recurrent topic in African American philosophy, Latin American philosophy and Native American philosophy, that of collective identity, has been understood in two different ways. One concerns the cultural, racial, and ethnic identity of a group of people. Examples of this understanding of the question are Appiah 2005 for the case of African identity, Lott & Pittman 2003 for African-American identity, Gracia 2011 for Latin American identity, and Harris et al 2002 for Native American identity. The other way concerns the identity of a philosophy that might qualify as being original or characteristic of a group of people. This latter understanding of the question is also exemplified by the above works. 


Readers unfamiliar with the philosophical traditions in this category would do well to consult the recently updated World Philosophies (Smart 1989), where they will find a very accessible introduction. A more scholarly work on the issue of group identity is Nuccetelli 2007. For some of the main issues and authors in American philosophy, see Shook & Margolis 2006 and Arrington 1996, and in Latin America, see the Blackwell Companion to Latin American Philosophy (Nuccetelli et al 2009). Another source to keep in mind for each of the traditions in this category is The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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