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date: 27 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This essay explores ontology in relation to metaphysical epistemologies, hierarchical dualisms, black existentialism, and African American theology. It examines the views of Martin Heidegger, Aristotle, René Descartes, and Lewis Gordon, focusing on the latter’s arguments about the existential phenomenological dimensions of racism. It also looks at W. E. B. Du Bois’s concept of “the Negro Problem,” Terrence L. Johnson’s use of the trope black “tragic soul-life” to describe just how an economy of existential hope constituted the moral center in the life of Du Bois, and how African American theology has contributed to the construction of economies of black existential hope within the study of black religion as well as black religious and moral experience. Finally, it discusses the ontological problem as well as the theological concern in the black church and in black and womanist theology.

Keywords: ontology, metaphysical epistemologies, hierarchical dualisms, existentialism, African American theology, W. E. B. Du Bois, Negro Problem, tragic soul-life, black church, womanist theology

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