Damn the Absolute!
Damn the Absolute!
S2E05 Americans Don’t Know How to Sing the Blues w/ Brad Elliott Stone & Jacob Goodson

S2E05 Americans Don’t Know How to Sing the Blues w/ Brad Elliott Stone & Jacob Goodson

Brad Elliott Stone and Jacob Goodson argue that until Americans learn how to sing the blues, it's going to be difficult to build beloved community in our wounded world.

School boards and state governments have been locked in intense debates over what counts as history and whose history ought to be taught. Many of these wrestles orbit around events and cultural beliefs that the pragmatist philosopher Cornel West might refer to as “catastrophes.”

Some voices are eager to bury, ignore, or sterilize many of the truly horrendous deeds that have happened in the United States. Slavery. Segregation. Jim Crow. Genocide. The exploitation of workers. And the list goes on.

This inability to process the pain, guilt, or shame many of these events provoke in people is, arguably, a major contributing factor to the polarization, dehumanization, and political corrosiveness we encounter in both the national discourse and our local communities. 

Brad Elliott Stone and Jacob Goodson believe the answer can be found in building beloved community.

They draw from the philosophies of Josiah Royce, Martin Luther King Jr, Cornel West, and William James. In their new book, Building Beloved Community in a Wounded World, they argue for ways in which we can heal the wounds inflicted on all of us by racism and economic injustices, both past and present. 

Here are just a few of the questions considered throughout the conversation.

Should building beloved community be focused locally, nationally, or globally? What does it take to effectively respond to the cries of the wounded? And, how can communities better work through the emotional pain of past wrongs?

Brad Elliott Stone is Professor of Philosophy and Associate Dean in the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.

Jacob L. Goodson is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas.

Show Notes

Building Beloved Community in a Wounded World by Jacob L. Goodson, Brad Elliott Stone, and Philip Rudolph Kuehnert (2022)

Introducing Prophetic Pragmatism: A Dialogue on Hope, the Philosophy of Race, and the Spiritual Blues by Jacob L. Goodson and Brad Elliott Stone (2019)

Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity by Richard Rorty (1989)

The American Evasion of Philosophy by Cornel West (1989)

Pragmatism and the Tragic Sense of Life” by Sidney Hook (1960)

The Tragic Sense of Life by Miguel de Unamuno (1954)

Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking by William James (1907)

Tender-Minded vs. Tough-Minded Thinkers” by Jeffrey Howard (2023)

S2E02 Fear of Breakdown in American Democracy w/ Noëlle McAfee (2022)

American Democracy and Its Broken Bargaining Tables” by Daniel Layman (2021)

Rortian Liberalism and the Problem of Truth” by Adrian Rutt (2021)

S1E12 Philosophers Need to Care About the Poor w/ Jacob Goodson (2021)

S1E19 Buddhist Reflections on Race and Liberation w/ Charles Johnson (2021)

S1E01 Richard Rorty and Achieving Our Country w/ Adrian Rutt (2020)

Music Credits

“Happy Americana” by ABCDmusic

“Empty Bottle, Empty Bed” by Mini Vandals

“Thinking Blues” by Bessie Smith

“Nobody’s Dirty Business” by Mississippi John Hurt

“That’s All Right” by Arthur Crudup

“Sissy Man Blues” by Kokomo Arnold

Damn the Absolute!
Damn the Absolute!
Hosted by Jeffrey Howard, editor-in-chief of Erraticus, Damn the Absolute! is a show about our relationship to ideas.
Doing our damnedest not to block the path of inquiry.
Produced by Erraticus.