Empirical or imperial: Issues in the Manipulation of DuBois’s Intellectual Historiography in Anthony Appiah’s Lines of Descent

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Abstract

n 1958, W.E.B. Du Bois penned an exquisite letter to Herbert Aptheker telling him that he had just finished his recently released History and Reality.1 In this brief letter, Du Bois tells Aptheker that he read his first chapter on Marxism and the liberal idea, also entitled “History and Reality,” with great interest. Du Bois then tells Aptheker:
For two years I studied under William James while he was developing Pragmatism; under [George] Santayana and his attractive mysticism and under [Josiah] Royce and his Hegelian idealism. I then found and adopted a philosophy which has served me since; thereafter I turned to the study of History and what has become Sociology.
It was his decision to pursue a methodology dedicated to “chance” that dissuaded Du Bois from his search for Truth—with a capital “T”—and turned him away from his love of philosophy, which he had acquired at Fisk in 1888.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGraduate Faculty Philosophy Journal
Volume35
Issue number1-2
Early online date31 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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