- xi, 220 pages ; 23 cm
- Contents: Acknowledgments -- The free Black is nothing -- The question of Black being -- Outlawing -- Scientific horror -- Catachrestic fantasies -- Adieu to the human -- Notes -- Bibliography -- Index.Includes bibliographical references (pages -210) and index (pages -220)Summary: In Ontological Terror Calvin L. Warren intervenes in Afro-pessimism, Heideggerian metaphysics, and black humanist philosophy by positing that the "Negro question" is intimately imbricated with questions of Being. Warren uses the figure of the antebellum free black as a philosophical paradigm for thinking through the tensions between blackness and Being. He illustrates how blacks embody a metaphysical nothing. This nothingness serves as a destabilizing presence and force as well as that which whiteness defines itself against. Thus, the function of blackness as giving form to nothing presents a terrifying problem for whites: they need blacks to affirm their existence, even as they despise the nothingness they represent. By pointing out how all humanism is based on investing blackness with non-Being - a logic which reproduces anti-black violence and precludes any realization of equality, justice, and recognition for blacks - Warren urges the removal of the human from its metaphysical pedestal and the exploration of ways of existing that are not predicated on a grounding in Being.