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Cornel West and Philosophy (Africana Thought) Hardcover – October 18, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0415940733 ISBN-10: 0415940737 Edition: 0th
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Editorial Reviews

Review

...a formidable work of scholarship. As a philosophical scholar, Johnson has produced a readerly text that captures the reader's attention from beginning to end.
–Floyd W. Hayes, III, APA Newsletter on Philosophy and the Black Experience

Nowhere in the literature on West -- and certainly not in West's writings themselves -- is there nearly such a good statement of West's views or one that organizes them into such a readily comprehensible structure. So, for someone who is looking for a good clear understanding of what really drives West's apparently unconnected views on so many matters, this volume cannot be beaten.
–Amazon.com

. . .the best available introduction to West's thought.
–Amazon.com

...a welcome and intelligent assessment of West's philosophy and ethics and their engagement with issues of social justice and race.
–Seminary Co-op Bookstore Review

About the Author

Clarence Sholé Johnson is Professor of Philosophy at Middle Tennessee State University. He specializes in early modern philosophy, ethics and Africana and African American philosophy.
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Product Details

  • Series: Africana Thought
  • Hardcover: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (October 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415940737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415940733
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,825,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Cornel West & Philosophy: The Quest for Social Justice is easily the best book on Cornel West that I have read. The author, Clarence Johnson, takes his readers through West's thought on a really broad variety of matters and shows how they can best be seen as united (of at least all branches from the same tree). Johnson begins by explaining that West is best thought of as a prophetic pragmatist. This allows Johnson to see apparently quite diverse aspects of West's thought (including such things as West's critique of the silent acquiescence of black in Clarence Thomas's nomination to the Supreme Court, West's apparently shifting positions during the time he was leaving Harvard, Wes's views on the black/Jewish conflicts, West's blending of theological and humanistic values, and West's peculiar form of Marxism) as all part of a coherent philosophy. Nowhere in the literature on West-and certainly not in West's writings themselves-is there nearly such a good statement of West's views or one that organizes them into such a readily comprehensible structure. So, for someone who is looking for a good clear understanding of what really drives West's sometimes apparently unconnected views on so many matters, this volume cannot be beaten. And because it is so well-written and clearly organized, everyone-including those with no training in philosophy or political theory-will have no difficulty in getting a firm grip on West's take on our current political situation and his views about where we should go from here. Furthermore, because it sheds new light on so many areas of West's thinking, even those who are well steeped in West's thought will learn a lot from this volume.
But Johnson is no mere expositor of West's thought. He also is a critic and a very good one.
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Format: Paperback
If nothing else, this book is a superb summary of West's intellectual writings. After having read his collection of writings, in "The Cornel West Reader," I had intended to get deeper into them and never quite took the time to do so. This book has re-stimulated my desire to continue that quest.

In a book that has the feel and smell of a Phd thesis, this author has rifled through Professor West's writings with a fine tooth comb and In the process has given us one of the fullest pictures of West's social and political development and his philosophical positions since his own summary in "The Reader." That the author had a minor hidden agenda to expose West to the philsophical light of day, did not harm the analysis at all, but added a bit of immediacy and much needed tension to his analysis.

Step-by-careful-step he pulls back the covers shielding one of America's finest and most active public intellectuals and social activists. Of special interests to me were the author's discussions of West's own philosophical positions: on Christianity, Marxism, Existentialism and the situating of his overall philosophy (as Prophetic Pragmatism) more generally.

In my review of "the Reader," I had argued that West had rather skillfully finessed all of these issues with what could only be described as quite fancy philosophical footwork. For instance, he had referred to himself as a" Chekovian Christian" (some could argue that this was an insult to both Chekov and to Christians), reworked Marxism so that it was quite simply no longer recognizable in traditional terms, and although he took no formal stand on Existentialism per se, it could be found lurking about around every corner of his philosophical musings.
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Cornel West and Philosophy (Africana Thought)
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