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Contemporary Philosophy

Path: Philosophy Contemporary Philosophy


The African and African American people's influence on the global community -- African and African American influence is changing WorldViews.

The phrase "contemporary philosophy" is a piece of technical terminology in philosophy that refers to a specific period in the history of Western philosophy. "Noted philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah shows us what it means to "do" philosophy in our time and why it should matter to anyone who wishes to live a more thoughtful life." Listed Below, is a selection of books by Kwame Anthony Appiah.

African-American culture is rooted in Africa, including the Middle Passage. Slavery greatly restricted the ability of the enslaved Africans to practice their cultural traditions. However, many practices, values, and beliefs of the enslaved Africans survived and over time and have been modified or blended with "white" culture. The greatest influence of African cultural practices on European culture is found in the distinctive traditions or radical innovations in music, art, literature, religion, cuisine, and many other fields such as the Oral tradition of the "Spoken word" (the rhyming, semantic inversion and word play), as used by African-American preachers.

Even though slave owners sought to exercise control over their slaves by attempting to strip them of their African culture - the Africa of African-American culture has had a pervasive, transformative impact on many elements of mainstream American culture.

During slavery, many slaves were forced to become Christian as they were stripped of their African belief systems and typically denied free religious practice.

-- There are 150,000 African-Americans in the United States who practice Judaism. Some of these are members of mainstream Jewish groups like the Reform, Conservative, or Orthodox branches of Judaism; others belong to non-mainstream Jewish groups like the Black Hebrew Israelites. The Black Hebrew Israelites are a collection of African-American religious organizations whose practices and beliefs are derived to some extent from Judaism. Their varied teachings often include that African Americans are descended from the Biblical Israelites.

Although there is a common misconception that African-Americans cannot be Jews and vice versa, studies have shown in the last 10 to 15 years there has been major increase in African-Americans identifying as Jewish. As such this misconception may become less common in the future. Rabbi Capers Funnye, the first cousin of Michelle Obama, says in response to skepticism by some on people being African-American and Jewish at the same time, "I am a Jew, and that breaks through all color and ethnic barriers." --
Judaism - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_culture

- Selection of books by Kwame Anthony Appiah

Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy

Thinking it Through is a thorough, vividly written introduction to contemporary philosophy and some of the most crucial questions of human existence, including the nature of mind and knowledge, the status of moral claims, the existence of God, the role of science, and the mysteries of language. Noted philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah shows us what it means to "do" philosophy in our time and why it should matter to anyone who wishes to live a more thoughtful life. Opposing the common misconceptions that being a philosopher means espousing a set of philosophical beliefs--or being a follower of a particular thinker--Appiah argues that "the result of philosophical exploration is not the end of inquiry in a settled opinion, but a mind resting more comfortably among many possibilities, or else the reframing of the question, and a new inquiry." Ideal for introductory philosophy courses, Thinking It Through is organized around eight central topics--mind, knowledge, language, science, morality, politics, law, and metaphysics. It traces how philosophers in the past have considered each subject (how Hobbes, Wittgenstein, and Frege, for example, approached the problem of language) and then explores some of the major questions that still engage philosophers today. More importantly, Appiah not only explains what philosophers have thought but how they think, giving students examples that they can use in their own attempts to navigate the complex issues confronting any reflective person in the twenty-first century. Filled with concrete examples of how philosophers work, Thinking it Through guides students through the process of philosophical reflection and enlarges their understanding of the central questions of human life.

Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy

 

 

In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture

The beating of Rodney King and the resulting riots in South Central Los Angeles. The violent clash between Hasidim and African-Americans in Crown Heights. The boats of Haitian refugees being turned away from the Land of Opportunity. These are among the many racially-charged images that have burst across our television screens in the last year alone, images that show that for all our complacent beliefs in a melting-pot society, race is as much of a problem as ever in America.

In this vastly important, widely-acclaimed volume, Kwame Anthony Appiah, a Ghanaian philosopher who now teaches at Harvard, explores, in his words, "the possibilities and pitfalls of an African identity in the late twentieth century." In the process he sheds new light on what it means to be an African-American, on the many preconceptions that have muddled discussions of race, Africa, and Afrocentrism since the end of the nineteenth century, and, in the end, to move beyond the idea of race.

In My Father's House is especially wide-ranging, covering everything from Pan Africanism, to the works of early African-American intellectuals such as Alexander Crummell and W.E.B. Du Bois, to the ways in which African identity influences African literature. In his discussion of the latter subject, Appiah demonstrates how attempts to construct a uniquely African literature have ignored not only the inescapable influences that centuries of contact with the West have imposed, but also the multicultural nature of Africa itself. Emphasizing this last point is Appiah's eloquent title essay which offers a fitting finale to the volume. In a moving first-person account of his father's death and funeral in Ghana, Appiah offers a brilliant metaphor for the tension between Africa's aspirations to modernity and its desire to draw on its ancient cultural roots.

In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture

 

 

Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience

Inspired by the dream of the late African American scholar W.E.B. Du Bois and assisted by an eminent advisory board, Harvard scholars Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Kwame Anthony Appiah have created the first scholarly encyclopedia to take as its scope the entire history of Africa and the African Diaspora.Beautifully designed and richly illustrated with over a thousand images - maps, tables, charts, photographs, hundreds of them in full color - this single-volume reference includes more than three thousand articles and over two million words. The interplay between text and illustration conveys the richness and sweep of the African and African American experience as no other publication before it. Certain to prove invaluable to anyone interested in black history and the influence of African culture on the world today, Africana is a unique testament to the remarkable legacy of a great and varied people.With entries ranging from ”affirmative action” to ”zydeco,” from each of the most prominent ethnic groups in Africa to each member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Africana brings the entire black world into sharp focus. Every concise, informative article is referenced to others with the aim of guiding the reader through such wide-ranging topics as the history of slavery; the civil rights movement; African-American literature, music, and art; ancient African civilizations; and the black experience in countries such as France, India, and Russia.More than a book for library reference, Africana will give hours of reading pleasure through its longer, interpretive essays by such notable writers as Stanley Crouch, Gerald Early, Randall Kennedy, and Cornel West. These specially commissioned essays give the reader an engaging chronicle of the religion, arts, and cultural life of Africans and of black people in the Old World and the New.

Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience

 

 

The Dictionary of Global Culture: What Every American Needs to Know as We Enter the Next Century--from Diderot to Bo Diddley

This work, edited by two of America's most accessible public intellectuals, from Harvard University's Afro-American studies department, is a scholarly yet easy-to-read reference that serves as a cultural-literacy primer for the third millennium. Multicultural in scope, it contains concise and timely essays on everything from the Islamic origins of algebra to Chinua Achebe, the Dalai Lama, John Coltrane, Frida Kahlo, and Fannie Lou Hamer. Gates and Appiah also include figures of popular culture such as Amy Tan and J.R.R. Tolkien. What makes the work most impressive is the editors' search for "an understanding of other cultures that enriches without displacing" the achievements of Western civilization, showing how African, Afro-American, Hispanic, Asian, and European writers, politicians, and artists have all contributed. --Eugene Holley Jr.

"... the world's axes of population, power, and commerce shift from North to South and from West to East, the old Eurocentric model of culture is giving way to a new global paradigm. This dictionary, which has been compiled by two of our most esteemed scholars, is the first work of its kind to devote equal emphasis to the cultural contributions of the non-Western world alongside those of Europe and North America."

The Dictionary of Global Culture: What Every American Needs to Know as We Enter the Next Century--from Diderot to Bo Diddley

 

 

Kwame Anthony Appiah

Kwame Anthony Appiah, the president of the PEN American Center, is the author of The Ethics of Identity, Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy, The Honor Code and the prize-winning Cosmopolitanism. Raised in Ghana and educated in England, he has taught philosophy on three continents and is currently a professor at Princeton University. He maintains a website at www.appiah.net. (Return)

 

 

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