The American Evasion of Philosophy: A. Genealogy of Pragmatism. By Cornel West. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, xii + pp. Cloth, $ The American Evasion of Philosophy A Genealogy of Pragmatism Cornel West. Wisconsin Project on American Writers Frank Lentricchia, General Editor. Cornel West: The American Evasion of Philosophy. A Genealogy of Pragmatism. The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Fernando.


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Rather, West asserts that when Ralph Waldo Emerson—the great nineteenth century American poet, essayist, and thinker and the founding father of this tradition—turned away from the questions that had been the primary concerns of Western philosophy for centuries, he avoided, or evaded, the blind alley into which philosophy had wandered.

Emerson thereby founded the American tradition of philosophy as cultural criticism, emphasizing the application of the critical intelligence to the solution of problems that confront individuals involved in society and culture. The goal is to define how American pragmatism can inform the thought and action american evasion of philosophy men and women who, like West, remain american evasion of philosophy to the cause of social progress.

The American Evasion of Philosophy Analysis

In addition to turning away from the entanglements of philosophy, Emerson in the middle of the nineteenth century prefigured both what would become the major themes of American pragmatism—power, provocation, and personality—and what would become its crucial motifs—optimism, moralism, and individualism.

James and Peirce had little direct to say about social issues, while Dewey, with his background american evasion of philosophy Hegel and in Darwin, tried to foster community american evasion of philosophy and empowerment, through finding an appropriate method to address and circumvent specific problems rather than through the use of philosophical abstractions.

West offers intriguing discussions of five thinkers who american evasion of philosophy not american evasion of philosophy grouped together, Dewey's student Sidney Hook, the sociologist C.

Wright Mills, the African American scholar and activist W. B DuBois, the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, and the literary critic Lionel Trilling, as he shows the different ways each of these thinkers took and modified some of the tenets of pragmatism in the middle-years of the 20th Century.

I found West's exposition of these thinkers helpful even though I have serious doubts about West's philosophical direction.

The American Evasion of Philosophy: A Genealogy of Pragmatism - Cornel West - Google книги

West returns to contemporary American philosophy in his treatment of the works of Quine and Richard Rorty, and he all-too-briefly american evasion of philosophy the views of radical thinkers including Roberto Unger and Foucault. Throughout the book, West argues for what he terms a prophetic pragmatism which continues the non-Cartesian character american evasion of philosophy the pragmatic project but informs it for West with a social analysis that recognizes the claims of those West claims are excluded from full participation in American democracy -- African Americans, women, the poor, to have their voices heard.

West's position has strong components of Marxism and of radical theology in addition to pragmatism.


To me, West does not explain how these theories fit together or their relationship to pragmatism. He also does little to persuade the reader about the value of Marxism or, for that american evasion of philosophy, of the value of his form of theology but rather seems to thrust these teachings upon the reader.

The American Evasion of Philosophy: A Genealogy of Pragmatism

Very properly, West american evasion of philosophy Dr. What shines through, throughout the work, is West's firm commitment to a radical vision of a philosophic discourse as inextricably linked to cultural criticism and political engagement.

Boyer, professor emeritus of history, University of Wisconsin—Madison.