Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

History and Philosophy

First Advisor

Jeremy Proulx, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Richard Nation, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Brian Bruya, Ph.D.


This paper will discuss the cynicism many people of color have toward the American legal system by using the intersections between existential philosophy, Africana philosophy, black existentialism and phenomenology. This paper will explore the cynicism and lack of trust held by many American minorities toward the American legal and judicial systems primarily through the lenses of philosophy, but additionally, the disciplines of: psychology, political science, criminology and sociology will also be discussed as they are vital and unavoidable disciplines to the discussion. Therefore, the methodology of this paper is intersectionality, meaning that all of the above systems as well as the philosophical systems of: existential philosophy, Africana philosophy, and existential phenomenology work interconnectively within the context of legal cynicism . amongst American minorities.

The primary goal of this paper is to identify and describe possible causes for the lack of trust many Americans of color have toward the legal system by examining various philosophical writings from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is my belief that though many of these writings were written over a hundred years ago by philosophers who came from backgrounds very different than the communities that are largely plagued by lack of trust towards the American legal system, their writings are highly pertinent and provide answers to why cynicism toward the American legal system exists among minorities today.

Included in

Philosophy Commons