Article

W. E. B. Du Bois: Double‐Consciousness, Jamesian Sympathy, and the Critical Turn

Mitchell Aboulafia

in The Oxford Handbook of American Philosophy

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780199219315
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199219315.003.0009

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 W. E. B. Du Bois: Double‐Consciousness, Jamesian Sympathy, and the Critical Turn

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The Hegelian background to W. E. B. Du Bois's discussion can be located in the development of self-consciousness for Hegel. The process of becoming self-conscious entails a split within the individual; there is a distance between the consciousness that is aware and that of which it is aware. This consciousness experiences itself as alienated from itself and the world. In the master and slave dialectic, we discover that the “splitting” of self-consciousness results in the master's “essence” being found outside the master in the slave, and vice versa. The goal is to overcome this alienation of self in the other. This will occur only in a society in which mutual recognition is present.

Keywords: W. E. B. Du Bois; double-consciousness; self-consciousness; master–slave dialectic; alienation of self; mutual recognition

Article.  7373 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy

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