Unveiling the Mask of Philosophy Essay

By Eugen Grinevich

In this weeks journal we are discussing the essays of Kucklick, Outlaw, Locke, and West. “The Changing Character of Philosophizing in America”, an essay about the periods of philosophy and how it had an impact in shaping philosophy. “Philosophy, African-Americans, and the Unfinished American Revolution”, an essay reasoning why African American philosophy was suppressed and what this has done to the future of philosophy. “Good Reading”, an essay on the character of philosophy. And “Philosophy, Politics, and Power: An Afro-American Perspective”, an essay on African-Americans having a revolution.

“The Changing Character of Philosophizing in American” started off in the middle of the seventeenth century…the First World War I. Kucklick discusses how during this time early philosophy started off with the Puritans and how priests were considered to be the philosophers. At this time philosophers were considered to be the “public man.” Kucklick says how these thinkers based their ideas off of human, nature, the divine, godly ways (the bible). Later Kucklick goes on to talk about the second period, which was the first third of the eighteenth century, World War II.

During this time science was starting to come into play. This is when you have your Newton and Locke stirring up conflict with those who based things on the divine and spiritual truth. Newton came in and had people realizing that science played a role in the development of philosophy. With this you have Jonathan Edwards, Cotton Mather, and Benjamin Franklin coming into the picture and realizing that there was a union between science, philosophy, and religion…Kucklicks third period, after World War II, the twentieth century is when things started to become more technical. Your philosophers came to be known as your teachers, professors, and some of your politicians. This brought techniques of popularity and ideas from the past to be the barrier between the different philosophers. Kucklick goes on to talk about how the future of philosophy was going down hill. The philosophers he called “ignorantly provincial, naive, and woolly-minded”, stating that philosophers have disregarded the history of philosophy.

“Philosophy, African-Americans, and the Unfinished American Revolution”, starts off giving you the background of the word philosophy, which came to be known as the realm of the architect and custodian of the specifications of what it means to be human. This came was said to come from the people in Europe, which claimed themselves to be the only ones who knew where knowledge came from. Outlaw goes on to talk about how politics had an affect on philosophy dealing with the social classes between very wealthy and the working class. He also goes into great detail about the suppression of African-Americans. He seems to believe that these philosophers were basing everything on the White-Americans. When they were not the only ones there. It was as if they had forgot that when they came over that they brought Africans with them and the Indians were already there. They only looked at their traditions and their culture. Which bring forth the question, how can you say there is no such thing as African American Philosophy? What makes your background philosophy and mine not? Outlaw still thinks that blacks are still going through this suppression, but we are to blind to even realize this.

“Good Reading,” and” Philosophy, Politics, and Power: An Afro-American Perspective”, talked about what philosophy was and what it has become. Both of these essays discuss the emphasis that used to be placed on philosophy and how now it has turned into something that no one really pays that much attention to anymore. Philosophy has become one of those things that bores people and can only be understood by the intellects. But, West also has another idea. He speaks of a revolution of blacks that he thinks should take place soon.

To conclude these readings have torn us in many directions on where to find out what the animal African- American Philosophy really is. From Kucklicks theory from the Bible to Outlaws idea of suppression one can see that there is an animal called African-American Philosophy, and we have just discovered it.

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