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The Acorn

Volume 20, Issue 1/2, 2020
Special Issue: Howard Thurman, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Black Spiritual Left

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  • Issue: 1/2

Displaying: 1-8 of 8 documents

1. The Acorn: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1/2
Anthony Sean Neal Thurman and King as Transformative Philosophers of Life, Existence, and Community Development During Times of Unchecked Oppression
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2. The Acorn: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1/2
Anthony Sean Neal, Michael Barber, Eddie O’Byrn Thurman’s Philosophical De-Mystified Mysticism: Author Meets Critics: Anthony Sean Neal, Author of Howard Thurman’s Philosophical Mysticism Meets Critics Michael Barber and Eddie O’Byrn
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In this author-meets critics discussion of Howard Thurman’s Philosophical Mysticism, Anthony Sean Neal argues that Thurman’s work requires systematic recognition of how he was rooted firmly within the Modern Era of the African American Freedom Struggle (1896–1975). Michael Barber suggests that Thurman may be understood in contrast to Levinas on two counts. Whereas Thurman develops the duty to love from within the one who must love, Levinas grasps the origin of love’s duty in the command of the one who is to be loved. And while Thurman’s mysticism yearns for oneness, Levinas warns that oneness is ethically problematic. Eddie O'Byrn challenges the symbolic validity of calling love a weapon, and asks why the book has not treated Thurman’s relations to Gandhi or King. Neal defends a provisional usage of the term weapon in relation to love and offers some preliminary considerations of Thurman’s relation to Gandhi and King, especially in the symbolic significance of "the dream."
3. The Acorn: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1/2
Anthony Sean Neal “A Fulfillment So High”: New Directions in African American Philosophy for the Study of Howard Thurman and Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Scholarship on Martin Luther King, Jr., and more recent works on Howard Thurman, have become widely appreciative of their contributions to a struggle for Black liberation. This study explicates how the philosophies of Thurman and King also contribute to a universal theme of self-transformation. To be sure, the challenge of self-transformation is aggravated by the oppressive circumstances faced by Black persons in a racist society; however, the resources offered by Thurman and King for personal transformation should be relevant to persons almost regardless of circumstance. This study presents four concepts shared in the personal-transformation philosophies of Thurman and King: (1) Existential Transformation, (2) Self-Altered Destiny, (3) Self Examination, and (4) Rejection of Irrelevance. These four concepts provide a new framework for reading Thurman’s and King’s writings in tandem with a view towards self-transformation and demonstrate why a philosophy of the Black experience would be of interest, and have benefit, for anyone.
4. The Acorn: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1/2
Larry Perry Beyond Black Churches: Toward an Understanding of the Black Spiritual Left, featuring Du Bois, Bethune, Thurman, and Black Lives Matter
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Drawing upon Leigh Schmidt’s work on the “spiritual left,” this article presents a genealogy of the Black Spiritual Left featuring W. E. B. Du Bois, Mary McLeod Bethune, Howard Thurman, and Black Lives Matter activists Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors. Black Spiritual Leftists are defined as Black figures who separated from or were not part of Black churches and yet took on a spiritual orientation important to their progressive activism. Their faith is Spiritual, but not necessarily religious. In its most recent manifestation, the Black Spiritual Left argues—in opposition to some Black Church pastors—that defense of Black lives requires respect for marginalized Black women, LGBTQ, and criminalized Black men and boys.
5. The Acorn: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1/2
J. Edward Hackett Kingian Personalism, Moral Emotions, and Emersonian Perfectionism: A Response to Paul C. Taylor
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In “Moral Perfectionism,” an essay in To Shape a New World, Paul C. Taylor explicitly mentions and openly avoids King’s personalism while advancing a type of Emersonian moral perfectionism motivated by a less than adequate reconstruction of King’s project. In this essay, I argue this is a mistake on two fronts. First, Taylor’s moral perfectionism gives pride of place to shame and self-loathing where the work of King makes central use of love. Second, by evading the personalist King, Taylor misses the importance of love as foundational to King’s theory of community, the Beloved Community. In effect, Taylor engages in hermeneutic violence regarding King’s work and self-description as a personalist. I offer an account of King’s love informed by personalism that better situates love and shows why it is central to King’s philosophy. In conclusion I argue the following: Love is a type of orientation, attitude, and standpoint one can take in relation to another person. Philia and eros forms of love are contingent and conditional. Agapic love opens up persons to see the eternal dignity we all possess and is restorative and generative of community. The Holy Spirit that animates King’s conception of history is made manifest or hindered by the choice to act on the agapic principle of love that animates the cosmos. In the end, I suggest that Taylor’s perfectionist insights might be applied to a supplemental development of Kingian moral philosophy in the direction of a fuller virtue ethics.
6. The Acorn: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1/2
Paul C. Taylor Reading King’s Personalism, Or Not: A Reply to Professor Hackett
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7. The Acorn: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1/2
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8. The Acorn: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1/2
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