2022-03Thematic Section
Racial Foster Care, Contraceptive Knowledge and Adoption in Alain Locke’s Philosophy of Culture


This article confronts the problems of establishing normative restrictive claims for delegitimizing conduct and attitudes of cultural appropriation. Using C. Thi Nguyen’s and Matthew Strhol’s intimacy account (IA) as a background, I offer an alternative of cultural adoption relying upon Alain Locke’s value theory and philosophical pluralism. The phenomenon of cultural adoption I propose develops some insights from Nguyen’s and Strohl’s IA, while critiquing their framework’s perceived limitations. By adding loyalty and intensity to the prerogatives of intimacy, the hope is that a more nuanced approach to the ethical concerns of cultural adoption will be achieved. My contention is that Locke’s notions of a racial sense or kinship feeling provides stronger grounds for establishing an ethics of the passerby or what I will call non-intimate encounters. Next, I will argue that the interpersonal relations of groups cannot be interpreted as simple, but only as complex wholes. Instead of monoliths and exclusive binaries, we have to recognize variation within groups and learn to think in what Albert Murray calls “mulatto,” or a culture of novel hybrids. In the final section, I argue that Locke’s philosophy, broadly construed, operates as a contraceptive knowledge against the growing imperial apathy of populists and absolutists. We should work to abandon forms of political and epistemological violence by rejecting these forms of cultural abuse. It is my grand contention that human groups express in their differences a uniqueness that makes us distrust or admire and like each other.


intimacy account, intercultural reciprocity, cultural adoption, kinship of feeling, cultural ethics

How to cite:

Jackson, Myron Moses. “Racial Foster Care, Contraceptive Knowledge and Adoption in Alain Locke’s Philosophy of Culture.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 6, no. 3 (2022):  62-78. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2022.0025.


Myron Moses Jackson
Department of Philosophy and Religion, Western Carolina University
Stillwell 232, 1 University Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723, USA


Appiah, Kwame Anthony. The Lies that Bind: Rethinking Identity. New York, NY: W. W. Norton, 2018.

Bergson, Henri. The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics. Translated by Mabelle L. Andison. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2012.

Carter, Jacoby. “Between Reconstruction and Elimination: Alain Locke’s Philosophy of Race.” In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Race, edited by Naomi Zack, 195-203. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Conrad, Joseph. The Mirror of the Sea & A Personal Record. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Dennis, Rutledge M. “Relativism and Pluralism in the Social Thought of Alain Locke.” In Alain Locke: Reflections on a Modern Renaissance Man, edited by Russell J. Linnemann, 29-49. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University, 1982.  

Drabinski, John E. “Decolonizing the West.” In Decolonizing American Philosophy, edited by Corey McCall and Phillip McReynolds, 63-79. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2021.

Emmet, Dorothy. “The Concept of Freedom with Reference to Open and Closed Societies.” In The Concept of Freedom in Anthropology, edited by D. Bidney, 91-105. The Hague: Mouton, 1963. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783112319376-007.

Green, Judith M. “Alain Locke’s Multicultural Philosophy of Value.” In The Critical Pragmatism of Alain Locke: A Reader on Value Theory, Aesthetics, Community, Culture, Race, and Education, edited by Leonard Harris, 85-94. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1999.

Hall, Stuart. The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, Nation. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017.

Han, Byung-Chul. The Scent of Time: A Philosophical Essay on the Art of Lingering. Translated by Daniel Steuer. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. 2017.

Harris, Leonard, ed. The Philosophy of Alain Locke. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1989.

Harris, Leonard, and Charles Molesworth. Alain L. Locke: A Biography of a Philosopher. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2008. https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226317809.001.0001.

 Jackson, Myron Moses. “On the Power of Cultural Adoption Through Integral Fakes and Reunification.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 4, no. 2 (2020): 114-27. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2020.0020.

Kallen, Horace. “Locke and Cultural Pluralism.”  Journal of Philosophy 54, no. 5 (1957): 119-27. https://doi.org/10.2307/2022298.    

Locke, Alain L. “The Negro’s Contribution to American Culture.” In The Critical Temper of Alain Locke: A Selection of His Essays on Art and Culture, edited by Jeffrey C. Stewart, 451-58. New York: Garland Publishing, 1983.

Locke, Alain L. Race Contacts and Interracial Relations. Edited by Jeffrey C. Stewart. Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1992.

Locke, Alain L. The Works of Alain Locke. Edited by Charles Molesworth. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

MacMullan, Terrance. “Challenges to Cultural Diversity: Absolutism, Democracy, and Alain Locke’s Value Relativism.” The Journal of Speculative Philosophy 19, no. 2 (2005): 129-38. https://doi.org/10.1353/jsp.2005.0013.

McBride III, Lee A. “Culture, Acquisitiveness, and Decolonial Philosophy.” In Decolonizing of American Philosophy, edited by Corey McCall and Phillip McReynolds, 17-35. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2021.

Moses, Greg. “A Compass for Valuation: Peircean Realism in Alain Locke’s Functional Theory of Value.” The Journal of Speculative Philosophy 27, no. 4 (2013): 402-24. https://doi.org/10.5325/jspecphil.27.4.0402.

Murray, Albert. The Omni-Americans: Some Alternatives to the Folklore of White Supremacy. New York, NY: Library of America, 2000. First published 1970.

Nguyen, C. Thi, and Matthew Strohl. “Cultural Appropriation and the Intimacy of Groups.” Philosophical Studies 176, (2019): 981-1002. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-018-1223-3.

Poster, Mark. “Introduction.” In Jean Baudrillard: Selected Writings, edited by Mark Poster, 1-9. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781503619630-003.

Sloterdijk, Peter. Bubbles: Microspherology, Spheres I. Translated by Weiland Hoban. Los Angeles, CA: Semiotext(e) Press, 2009.

Sloterdijk, Peter. What Happened in the Twentieth Century?. Translated by Christopher Turner. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2018.

Stikkers, Kenneth. “Instrumental Relativism and Cultivated Pluralism: Alain Locke and Philosophy’s Quest for a Common World.” In The Critical Pragmatism of Alain Locke: A Reader on Value Theory, Aesthetics, Community, Culture, Race, and Education, edited by Leonard Harris, 209-16. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1999.

Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America. Translated by George Lawrence. Vol. 44, Great Books of the Western World. Edited by Mortimer J. Adler. Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2005.

Washington, Johnny. A Journey into the Philosophy of Alain Locke. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994.

Wright, Louis E. “Alain Locke on Race Relations: Some Political Implications of His Thought.” Journal of Black Studies 42, no. 4 (2011): 665-89. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021934710391899.

Open Access Statement:

This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author, as long as the author and original source are properly cited. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Submitting a text to Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture means that the author agrees with the general conditions of this license. The author does and will maintain copyrights and publishing rights for his/her article without any restrictions.