Depersonalization and making sense of the world through philosophy

Dwayne Tunstall, assistant professor of philosophy, wrote “Doing Philosophy Personally: Thinking about Metaphysics, Theism, and Antiblack Racism” to introduce readers to philosophy as a form of conceptual storytelling, which he said enables us to make sense of ourselves and our world.

The book reimagines theism through religious existentialism, Africana philosophy and theology, and establishes that humans are a part of something larger than themselves, which makes their lives meaningful. Tunstall specifically writes about the need to counteract anti-black racism by analyzing philosophers who discuss the prevalence of depersonalization. 


“For readers not interested in philosophy, I would say that my book portrays philosophy as the art of making conceptual distinctions,” said Tunstall. “This enables us to make sense of ourselves and our world. What motivates people to engage in philosophical inquiry are their extra-philosophical commitments.”


Tunstall analyzed the work of philosophers Gabriel Marcel and Lewis R. Gordon because of their extra-philosophical commitments pertaining to depersonalization as the greatest threat to western civilization in the last century. Additionally, Tunstall challenged Marcel and agreed with Gordon that anti-black racism is one of the greatest depersonalization phenomena of the 20th century.


Tunstall, who teaches in Philosophy and African and African American Studies, has done previous research on this topic that fits into topics he is interested in pertaining to Africana philosophy, existential phenomenology, moral philosophy, religious ethics and classical American philosophy.


Tunstall said it took him several years to complete “Doing Philosophy Personally.” The book was published in 2013 by Fordham University Press. 

Page last modified April 11, 2013