A philosopher in the rates of Kanye West tweets

Getty Images

“It’s not where you take things. It’s where you take them to.”

We all knew that Kanye West had a way with words. But instead of rap lyrics, in these days, the star drop knowledge on Twitter.

Since reactivated his account on Monday, the West has been sending a series of bon mots and aphorisms.

“Oh, by the way, this is my book that I’m writing in real time,” he said.

“There is no editor or publicist will tell me what to put where or how many pages to write. This is not a financial opportunity, this is an innate need to be expressive.”

To the west of the lyrical proclamations have included such gems as “reach for the stars, so that if you fall you land on a cloud” and “hurry up with my damn croissants!”.

But how do you as a philosopher? You can legitimately be classified with Nietzsche, Descartes, and Kant?

We wanted an expert to handle the star of the tweets.

While one responded that “I do not know how to evaluate them taken as a philosophy”, Dr. Lauren Ware – a professor of the University of Kent was prepared for the challenge.

Navot Naor

Here is what it says Dr. Ware made the Kanyean of the school of philosophy.

Kanye says: “the Truth is my goal. The controversy is in my gym. I’m going to do a hundred representatives of the dispute for a pack of 6 of the truth.”

End of the post to Twitter by @kanyewest

Kanye identifies here his methodology philosophical: the arrival at the truth through the centuries.

Philosophy as the search for truth, love of wisdom, is well known, but Kanye’s embrace of the controversy that marks him as really engage in philosophical practice.

I teach a module of Kent called “Philosophical Reading and Writing”, and when students have problems to come up with the material for their essays, we tell them: Find controversy, find a problem, turn that into a question, and your answer to that question is your thesis statement.*

The philosophy begins with the controversy, and the training and the exercise of identifying and dealing with it charity is a great way to exercise your philosophical muscles.

Kanye says: “Cars have four wheels. Sweatshirts with hoods. It’s funny to me when someone says that this is an original sweatshirt with a hood. Bro… it is a hoodie.”

Final Twitter post 2 by @kanyewest

Here we get into the strong metaphysical commitments of Kanyean philosophy. Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that asks questions about reality and existence: What does it mean to be real? Do dreams exist? What makes a hoodie a sweatshirt with a hood and not a car?

What Kanye is doing here is laying down, what is called in philosophy the “necessary and sufficient conditions” to be a hooded sweatshirt. You may not be a sweatshirt with a hood, without a hood, so the hoods are required for the hoodie hood. But it remains to be seen in his theory of the hoods are sufficient for the hoodie hood.

Make hoods just a hoodie do?

Another interesting element is this notion of originality: the concept of the hoodie – hoodiness incarnate – to be in itself the one, true, original sweatshirt with hood? Does this concept of the hooded sweatshirt are there? Can I buy it?

Kanye says: “I do not believe in the concept of an enemy. We have been conditioned to always be in competition. Stop looking for something to overcome and be fair. You don’t have to do all the work. Once you begin to move in the love of the universe, will help you.”

End of Twitter post 3 by @kanyewest

Here is a concept that definitely does not exist in the Yeezian universe: the enemy.

What does it mean for a concept cease to exist? If all the world followed by Kanye and stopped believing in enemies, making them go away?

We are getting to the heart of Kanye of metaphysics here, and it takes an amazing connection to the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato.

Respond to Kanye, Plato would say, concepts don’t depend on anyone to believe in them to exist. But he did say in his dialogue, The Symposium, that it is through love that we come to understand the concepts. Part of what it is to love something is to be curious about it, wanting to understand.

Maybe it’s for the love of our enemies, that the universe will help us in the understanding of who you really are?

Final Youtube, published by KanyeWestVEVO

“Don’t follow the crowds. Follow the innate feelings within you. Do what you feel, not what you think. The thoughts have been placed in our heads for all to assimilate. Follow what you feel.”

End of Twitter post 5 by @kanyewest

However, the emotion vs reason script is by now pretty established as a false dichotomy in philosophy. Why? Because there is a difference between something that is a-rational and the irrational.

My fear without a doubt can be irrational: for example, when I’m in fear for no good reason, or more fear to an object that is worth. But that is not because fear is an emotion. Rather, it is because, as R. A. Duff argues, “our rational understanding of the world is so often… fallible; after all, our beliefs may also be irrational, when they are not properly connected to earth or proportional to the relevant evidence”.

Therefore, we can understand that the emotions are perfectly rational when they are properly anchored in the reality: when the beliefs that are part of the thrill are true.

Kanye says: “All that means nothing until you do something about it. You are the validator.”

Final Twitter post 6 by @kanyewest

No other tweet aphorism best demonstrates the existentialism at the core of Kanye’s book. The philosophers, existentialists such as Simone de Beauvoir, he defended the point of view that we ourselves give meaning and purpose to our life in the same act of life. We have developed our own existence, by living authentically.

We can identify Kanye of existentialism is reflected in its issue of authenticity. Our purpose – validation or, as Kanye calls it – comes only from this self-creative act of making ourselves through our lives and projects.

Often overlooked in the early reception of Kanye’s philosophical debut was what appeared on the surface to be quite blunt assertion that these tweets are, in fact, his anticipated book.

“Oh, by the way, this is my book that I’m writing in real time”.

Final Twitter post 7 by @kanyewest

An interpretation existentialist revealed as a call to authenticity. Maybe Kanye’s message to his followers is that this is the way that we all should be living, with the Kanyean existentialist motto: Oh, by the way, this is my life that I’m writing in real time.

Follow us on Facebookand on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram in bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

More of Kanye West
BBC Music home page
BBC News LIVE Music