Expert sheds light on Martin Luther King, Jrs other philosophical influences

December 2nd, 2007 - 4:46 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Dec 2 (ANI): It has always been believed that Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was profoundly influenced by Mahatma Gandhis philosophy, but now, an expert has claimed that the Civil Rights Reform leaders other philosophical positions have been overlooked.

Arnold Farr, Ph.D., an associate professor of philosophy at Saint Josephs University, notes that little attention is given to his training as a philosopher, and the further implications of his philosophical positions.

King was not only an activist, but also a thinker whose activism was informed by what he thought were some of the best insights into the human condition by Western philosophers, says Farr.

Farr says that though Dr. Kings philosophy of nonviolent social change was based on Mahatma Gandhis beliefs, his earlier readings of Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche and Bowne while in the seminary and graduate school are often disregarded.

He adds that Kings most preferred philosopher was Hegel.

Kings favourite philosopher was Hegel. He was especially influenced by his dialectical method, philosophy of history and the idea that growth comes from struggle, he says.

Farr notes that while at Crozer Theological Seminary (in Chester, Pa.) and Boston University, King found himself in the hotbeds of the philosophy of personalism, which is strongly connected to Kantian moral philosophy because of its stress on the respect for the individual.

The father of personalism in the U.S. was Borden Parker Bowne, who began his work at Boston University in 1876. His philosophy played a major role in Kings fight against racism, since racism is destructive of the human personality, he says.

King created a synthesis of personalism and Marxism, based on Marx analysis of the oppression of the working class, and how oppression is destructive to human potential, he adds. (ANI)

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