University of St Martin - Fall, 2006 - PHIL232

Monday, Nov 6 - Race, death, tragedy, and bad faith

Midterm Essay
Monday, Sept. 4 - What is philosophy?
Wednesday, Sept. 6 - Aristotle (1)
Monday, Sept. 11 - Aristotle (2)
Wednesday, Sept. 13 - Aristotle (3)
Monday, Sept. 18 - Nietzsche (1)
Wednesday, Sept. 20 - Nietzsche (2)
Monday, Sept. 26 - Abortion (1)
Wednesday, Sept. 28 - Abortion (2)
Excursus 1: Historical overview
Excursus 2: Abortion in Judaism and Christianity
Excursus 3: Abortion in Islam
Excursus 4: Pro-choice argument
Monday, Oct. 2 - Suicide (1)
Wednesday, Oct 4 - Revision
Monday, Oct 16 - Suicide (2)
Wednesday, Oct 18 - Paradigm shifts
Monday, Oct 23 - Brave New World (1)
Wednesday, Oct 25 - Philosophical Anthropology (1)
Monday, Oct 30 - Sexual History of the USA
Wednesday, Nov 1 - Philosophical Anthropology (2)
Monday, Nov 6 - Race, death, tragedy, and bad faith
Wednesday, Nov 8 - Race, Biology, and Culture
Monday, Nov 13 - Racism and culture
Wednesday, Nov 15 - Existentialism
Monday, Nov 20 - Political Obligation, Moral Duty, and Punishment
Wednesday, Nov 22 - Kant and Moral Obligation
Monday, Nov 27 - War and Peace
Wednesday, Nov 29 - Non-Western Philosophies (1)
Monday, Dec 4 - Non-Western Philosophies (2)
Wednesday, Dec 6 - The End
Final Paper

Class presentation by:
Khan, S.
Ramdial, O.
Ramjohn, M.
Roumou, I.

Guiding questions for reading:
Naomi Zack, "Race, Life, Death, Identity, Tragedy, and Good Faith," in Lewis R. Gordon (ed.), Existence in Black. An anthology of black existential philosophy.
  1. How does the author view the concept of race? (p. 99)
  2. When did race become an issue and why? (pp. 99f.)
  3. What's the point of the prison example? (p. 100)
  4. What is the problem with "racialized life" when you think that life is always somebody's life ("my life") and that life ends up in death? (pp. 100ff.)
  5. What is the difference between identity and identification? (p. 102)
  6. Why is it important to realize that identifying oneself with the oppressed and enslaved Africans can limit us as doers or agents? (p. 102)
  7. What is needed for racialized people to become the true protagonists of their own lives, once they realize that death is their destiny? (p. 103)
  8. Can MY death be a tragedy to ME? (pp. 103f.)
  9. "Death comes to us all regardless of race and it can happen to anyone at any moment, regardless of race." In which way does death make the racial discourse break down and prove it ultimately to be useless? (p. 104)
  10. What is the difference between tragedy and catastrophe? (p. 105)
  11. Why is seeing one's death as a tragedy "in bad faith"? (p. 105)
  12. Why does whiteness mean that one has not been racialized? (p. 106)
  13. "Race is not 'in the body' but 'in the minds' of those who perform racial identifications." In which way does this sentence summarize the whole article? (p. 107)


To think about       

"Any society that values creativity also needs to enable criticism. If we cannot question the way we are doing things and thinking about things at present, it will not occur to us that they could be thought of or done differently. (...) So philosophy is important partly because cultural criticism is so important."

CHRISTENSON, Tom (2001). Wonder and Critical Reflection. An invitation to Philosophy, p. 37. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc.


This page was updated on Nov 21, 2006
at 10.00 PM St Martin Time (-4 UT)