Chapter

In a Shade of Blue: An Introduction

in In a Shade of Blue

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780226298245
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226298269 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226298269.003.0001
In a Shade of Blue: An Introduction

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Classical pragmatists such as Charles S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey rarely took up the question of white supremacy in their philosophical writings. For them, race and racism remained marginal intellectual categories despite the long, looming shadow of slavery that framed their extraordinary lives. This book shows that pragmatism can help address some of the more challenging dimensions of contemporary African American politics, but it maintains that pragmatism first ought to undergo a reconstruction of sorts: it must be made to sing the blues. It argues that, contrary to standard accounts, John Dewey's reconstruction of moral experience insists on the tragic dimension of our moral lives: that we are consistently confronted with competing values which often require that some good or value is butchered. The book then puts Dewey in conversation with one of America's greatest writers, Toni Morrison. It also examines how pragmatism might aid us in rethinking the various ways appeals to black identity, black history, and black agency impact the form and content of the political activity of African Americans.

Keywords: pragmatism; John Dewey; African Americans; Toni Morrison; African American politics; black identity; political activity; black history; black agency; racism

Chapter.  7038 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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