Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
In a Shade of BluePragmatism and the Politics of Black America$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Eddie S. Glaude

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226298245

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226298269.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 22 October 2019

Tragedy and Moral Experience: John Dewey and Toni Morrison's Beloved

Tragedy and Moral Experience: John Dewey and Toni Morrison's Beloved

(p.17) 1 Tragedy and Moral Experience: John Dewey and Toni Morrison's Beloved
In a Shade of Blue
University of Chicago Press

No one really questions John Dewey's commitment to democracy, but he was never truly attentive in his philosophical work to the problem of racism in America. Cornel West argues in “Pragmatism and the Sense of the Tragic” that Dewey simply fails to grapple seriously with tragedy and the problem of evil. In his view, Dewey's pragmatism does not address the realities of dread, disease, and death that threaten our democratic ways of thought and life. This chapter argues that Dewey's pragmatic philosophy offers unique insights that can help us address some of the more intractable problems posed by racism in the United States, from the difficulties of identity politics to the persistence of structural racism. It first reconstructs Dewey's philosophy of democracy in light of the realities of race that have defined America, and then maintains that both Hilary Putnam and Cornel West fail to grasp the importance of contingency and conflict in Dewey's philosophy of action. The chapter also examines the tragic dimensions of Dewey's thought by analyzing Toni Morrison's novel Beloved.

Keywords:   tragedy, pragmatism, John Dewey, Toni Morrison, Beloved, democracy, racism, identity politics, Hilary Putnam, Cornel West

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.