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African-American Philosophers: 17 Conversations

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I started reading this book recently, African-American Philosophers: 17 Conversations, it made me think about another conversation on this discussion forum, “Who's filled the intellectual void after James Baldwin?,” which I initiated in reaction to the Toni Morrison blurb of Ta-Nehisi Coates new book, the Power List Best seller, Between the World an Me ;


   “I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died…clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates.” 


While this is a bold statement I did not initially take it seriously, as authors typically exaggerate when endorsing another author's book. But given that it was Toni Morrison making the statement, some folks, most notably, Cornel West, took issue with the statement; going overboard, in my opinion, in his reaction.  If it were a more obscure author making the same statement, I'd be willing to bet Cornel would have overlooked it.


I've become more concerned with the idea that Baldwin's passing left an "intellectual void" for the past 30 years.  There are a great many Black intellectuals which is one of the reason I've started reading  African-American Philosophers.


The book was published in 1998 among the philosophers interviewed include Anita L. Allen, Robert E. Birt, Bernard R. Boxhill, Joyce Mitchell Cook, Angela Y. Davis, Lewis R. Gordon, Leonard Harris, Joy Ann James, Tommy L. Lott, Hoard McGary, Jr., Michele M. Moody-Adams, Albert Mosley, Lucius T. Outlaw, Jr., Adrian M. S. Piper, Laurence Thomas, Cornell West, and Naomi Zack.


With the exception of Davis and West, I'd imagine most of these thinkers are unknown to the general population. 

"intellectual void"...Puhleese!




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My take on Toni Morrison is that she doesn't take herself as seriously as those who pander to her do.  She put her books and opinions out there and isn't overly concerned with the reaction to it. She is truly her own person. 

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Cynique, I'd be willing to bet that you and Toni would get along quite well.  

Most book blurbs are not taken this seriously, especially by anyone who has written one.

However, the market places a great value on a high profile cosign.  A Toni Morrison surely recognizes the impact of her words can have on a prospective author's career.  It is not like Toni goes around willy-nilly, calling every halfway decent writer the next Jimmy Baldwin.  

I have to believe she understood the power of what she wrote. This makes her blurb a big deal, and worth taking seriously.

The book I posted above is really very fascinating and will lead me to read other books on the subject of philosophy.  It was published in the late 1990's; at the time there were only three tenured Black female philosophy professors in the U.S..  Two of them are interviewed in this book.  



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On 8/17/2015 at 4:43 PM, Troy said:

have to believe she understood the power of what she wrote. This makes her blurb a big deal, and worth taking seriously.

@Troy I agree that Morrison not only understood the power of her words but also the intent.  A rebel with a cause.  

I’m gonna get a copy of the African American Philosophers - I’m intrigued. Thanks for the cliff notes.



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