philosophybreak OP t1_j01gocj wrote

Black Existentialism is so named because it investigates the construction of racial identities through the lens of existentialism. You could draw similarities to how Simone de Beauvoir used existentialism to investigate the identities imposed upon women. I.e. you are not starting from scratch in your analysis of your relationship to reality; you are starting from an identity (a negative/limiting identity) that has been constructed for you. Lewis Gordon's work focuses on how one can shed the 'double consciousness' and 'bad faith' of seeing oneself through the eyes of others. Progress here comes "when you don’t accept the idea that you’re intrinsically a problem. Instead, you shift and argue there’s a problem with a society that makes people into problems". Hopefully that helps - more in the interview!


philosophybreak OP t1_j014uit wrote

Lewis Gordon is Head of the Department of Philosophy at UCONN-Storrs in the United States, and is one of the leading scholars of Black Existentialism. In this interview, we caught up with Professor Gordon about his book Fear of Black Consciousness, which explores how racial identity and human meaning are constructed through history, art, and popular culture. Drawing on an extraordinary breadth of references, Gordon ultimately argues against ‘seriousness’ or ‘closedness’ towards the worlds we make, and advocates for a radical love and openness towards the multitudinous possibilities of reality:

>“For us to deal with the richness of existence, for us to acknowledge the many ways of living in the world we manifest simultaneously, the approach has to be multidimensional… People are seduced by reductive thinking, simplified thinking… but to be genuinely curious, you begin to realize reality is just bigger than you are. To have a real commitment to reality and truth, you have to reach beyond yourself, which means you could get your butt kicked. So you need to have some courage: the idea of philosophers who have no courage is an abomination… I’m arguing that we’re not trying to constrain future humanity to this mess we have made. Instead, we’re trying to open up the possibilities for future humanity to live lives worth living.”


philosophybreak OP t1_it6lttl wrote


In this in-depth interview, MIT philosopher professor Kieran Setiya argues philosophy is at its most effective when it engages with a simple fact: life is hard. He believes that, rather than strive and yearn for an elusive ‘best life’, we should think instead about how to live well. Over the course of the discussion, Kieran demonstrates how it is the process of philosophical contemplation, not just the content of it, that can help us to navigate adversity. The interview covers grief, injustice, failure, the meaning of life, and explores the limitations of ‘ideal theory’, Stoicism, and materialistic conceptions of success.