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This chapter revisits Windham’s assertion of basic freedom as flesh to elaborate how Du Bois’s insistence on using the term Negro entails a theory of semiosis. It interrogates his unpublished 1890 essay, “The Renaissance of Ethics,” to show how that semiotics was grounded in a critique of the tradition of philosophical ontology. This is related to Du Bois’s 1890 Harvard commencement speech, “Jefferson Davis as a Representative of Civilization,” in which he postulates a doctrine of submission as the basis for a theory of human civilization contra the dominate historiography of individual virtue through might or strength. It entails an extensive argument, whereby the concept of para-semiosis is distinguished from that of paraontology. This turns on a critical genealogy of paraontology from Lacan to Heidegger and Oskar Becker. It concludes by presenting a para-semiotic account of divided person, and nonsacrificial love as the basis for radically reimagining what is human.

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