Dave Chappelle and Philosophy: When Keeping It Wrong Gets Real


Edited by Mark Ralkowski

Dave Chappelle’s life and career raise a wide range of philosophical questions about race, gender, the ethics of humor, the problems with cancel culture, American politics and history. Chappelle says that, as an artist, his aim is to “reveal people to themselves,” and he insists on absolute artistic freedom for comedians. This makes many people uncomfortable, while others love it. Dave Chappelle and Philosophy treats this aspect as an invitation to think about some of the most urgent moral and political questions of our time.

SKU: 9781637700020 Categories: , ,


The New York Times has praised Dave Chappelle as “an American folk hero” for his ability to communicate across lines of race, class, and culture at a time when Americans are more polarized than they have ever been. Dave Chappelle and Philosophy brings together twenty-five chapters by philosophers of diverse backgrounds and varying points of view, looking closely at the hilarious, annoying, exhilarating, upsetting, and thought-provoking aspects of Chappelle’s wonderfully rich output. This volume of the Pop Culture and Philosophy Series serves as an invitation to think about some of the most urgent moral and political questions of our time.

Mark Ralkowski is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Honors at George Washington University. He edited Louis C.K. and Philosophy: You Don’t Get to Be Bored (2016) and Curb Your Enthusiasm and Philosophy: Awaken the Social Assassin Within (2012). He has written numerous scholarly works on Heidegger and on ancient Greek philosophy, the latest being Plato at Syracuse (2019).

“Dave Chappelle. Truth-teller or out of touch? Progressive or retrograde? Timeless or tired? Feminist or misogynist? Ally or apologist? Iconic or infamous? The philosophers gathered here confront these questions and more, offering readers a deeper appreciation of Chappelle’s art and a better understanding of Chappelle as an artist. Dave Chappelle and Philosophy is a portrait of the artist as a middle-aged man and anyone interested in comedy, and potentially some who aren’t, will enjoy and benefit from this book.”

—Sheila Lintott, Professor of Philosophy, Bucknell University

“Hunkered down in our various ideological bunkers, we live certain in our knowledge of who’s on our side and who’s the enemy. Dave Chappelle is unique in his ability to make us laugh while scrambling the lines, making everyone uncomfortable. This is also what good philosophy does. Put the two together and the result is this volume, full of challenging, insightful discussion.”

—Steven Gimbel, author of Isn’t That Clever: A Philosophical Account of Humor and Comedy (2020)

ISBN: 9781637700020

Additional information

Weight 1.75 lbs
Dimensions 6 × 9 in


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