The New Negro, By Alain Locke

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Throughout Alain Locke’s works “Values and Imperatives,” “Pluralism and Intellectual Democracy,” “Cultural Relativism and Ideological Peace,” “The New Negro,” and “Harlem,” I found there to be a number of reoccurring themes, such as absolutes, imperatives, values, and relativism and their place in pluralism. I am going to be focusing on all the aforementioned themes and showing how they are all intertwined into the principles of pluralism. What is an absolute? In “Values and Imperatives,” Locke defines them briefly as “imperatives of action and as norms of preference and choice.” With the use of that definition comes the question of what an imperative is. In the preface of this piece, the editor writes that when Locke is referring to imperatives, he means “compelling rules, guidelines, and actions. Our imperatives function as authoritative guidelines.” A value, according to Locke, is “an emotionally mediated form of experience,” so judgments of value are essentially “emotional judgments.” For me, this is somewhat reminiscent of Emerson and his view on experience and values; a man does not consciously do something without having a belief or value behind it. Locke also goes on to later say in the same work that values are “rooted in attitudes, not in reality, and pertain to ourselves, not to the world.” The editor also writes that when Locke is referring to values, he “generally means feelings, attitudes, beliefs, preferences, attenuations for moral principles, aesthetic
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