- Series: Africana Thought
- Hardcover: 238 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (October 18, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415940737
- ISBN-13: 978-0415940733
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,450,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cornel West and Philosophy (Africana Thought) 1st Edition
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..."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."
." . .the best available introduction to West's thought."
..."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.
Top customer reviews
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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.
This author's analysis clears up these matters and does so with the care of an emerging academic. On the issue of West's Christianity, this author essentially agrees with me: It is mostly rhetorical top cover. West's real religion is secular humanism, which in my view is infinitely better than Christianity in any case. On Marxism, again we essentially agree: West, like other Marxists have been scrambling since the fall of Russia to find a safe revetment in the face of a need for a wholesale retreat. Clearly in the face of metaphysical racism, the old class categories of dialectic materialism are inadequate if they cannot be shown altogether to be a part of the same racist metaphysic that the class arguments attempt to attack?
On Existentialism, the author seems to be saying little more than that West's analysis of black nihilism falls in the classical tradition of existentialist angst. In my view, as true as this undoubtedly is, it does not go nearly far enough? For clearly West's existentialism is far-reaching, an all-encompassing part of his worldview and is apparently more reliable than his version of Christianity (Chekovian or otherwise)? This fact is clearly betrayed in West's own addition of Chekovian (Chekov is a well-known existentialist writer) as a prefix to his own self-composed version of Christianity.
However, these are subtleties on which reasonable people can disagree. But the same cannot be said for his (and West's) analysis of the black-Jewish conflict. It certainly goes a great deal deeper than either of them pretend. And while this is not the place to rehearse a defense against West's solution of more and better communications; or the author's suggestion that class issues involved in the New York School conflict played a more important role, I believe the fly in that ointment has more to do with the fact that Jews have finally arrived as the latest added to the roll of "provisional whites," a role that they silently cherish no matter how tenuous it may be. The best way to not only claim, but also to consolidate that much valued status is by embracing the position of "true believers." That is to say by becoming the newest "gatekeepers" and continuing to" wage wars for whiteness" in defense of the racist status quo. The metaphysics of race in America has always been the cause of strange bedfellows, and none are strangers than seeing Jews leading the fight against Affirmative Action and against Reparations for slavery? In my simplistic view, it is just a case of "once you are a member of the club," you want to slam the gate shut so that no others (like yourself) can be admitted?
While these may sound like nitpicks (because that is indeed what they are), this is a fine contribution to a better understanding of a "standup" intellectual and moving force in American society. Five Stars