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Between Slavery and Freedom Philosophy and American Slavery by Howard, Jr. McGary, Bill E. Lawson

Between Slavery and Freedom Philosophy and American Slavery

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Part of the Blacks in the Diaspora Series


Between Slavery and Freedom Philosophy and American Slavery by Howard, Jr. McGary, Bill E. Lawson

Using the writings of slaves and former slaves, as well as commentaries on slavery, Between Slavery and Freedom explores the American slave experience to gain a better understanding of six moral and political concepts-oppression, paternalism, resistance, political obligation, citizenship, and forgiveness. The authors use analytical philosophy as well as other disciplines to gain insight into the thinking of a group of people prevented from participating in the social/political discourse of their times. Between Slavery and Freedom rejects the notion that philosophers need not consider individual experience because philosophy is impartial and universal. A philosopher should also take account of matters that are essentially perspectival, such as the slave experience. McGary and Lawson demonstrate the contribution of all human experience, including slave experiences, to the quest for human knowledge and understanding.


Howard McGary and Bill Lawson have written a pioneering work. Never before has the African slave experience been the site of exploring the complex relation of philosophical reflection and historical interpretation. Challenging in its formulations and bold in its efforts to connect high theory to tragic reality, this text breaks new ground in an impressive manner. - Cornel West, author of Race Matters In a book that instantly enriches undergraduate teaching options in the field of social philosophy, McGary and Lawson have made a worthy attempt at engaging a wide audience in a conversation of greatest concern to many African Americans- that is, a systematic discussion about American slavery as a particular set of influential practices and ideas. - Ethics

About the Author

HOWARD MCGARY, Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University, has published widely in African American philosophy and social philosophy. BILL E. LAWSON, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Delaware, is the editor of and a contributor to The Underclass Question. His research has focused on issues regarding political obligations and political oppression.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st December 1998


Howard, Jr. McGary, Bill E. Lawson

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Indiana University Press


176 pages


Ethics & moral philosophy



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