Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Stikkers, Kenneth


This thesis asserts that the slave narratives are a significant resource for philosophers. Following Lewis Gordon, I argue that the slave narratives should not be understood merely as experiential evidence by which to validate Western thought. Instead, the narratives should be read as moments in which Black narrators shared their unique insights on the Western world. In line with Angela Davis, I argue that these critiques are still relevant to philosophers of this day and age. However, I argue that Davis' Marxist reading of Frederick Douglass' Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave is still vulnerable to Gordon's criticism. Using the narrative Olaudah Equiano, I demonstrate that by reading the slave narratives as expressing unique thoughts, philosophers can discover new resources to invigorate their philosophical inquiries.




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