"See, I put it this way: for me, philosophy is fundamentally about our finite situation. We can define that in terms of--we're beings toward death. We're featherless, two-legged, linguistically-conscious creatures born between urine and feces whose bodies will one day be the culinary delight of terrestrial worms. That's us. We're beings toward death. At the same time, we have desire, while we are organisms in space and time; and so it's desire in the face of death. And then of course you've got dogmatism, various attempts to hold onto certainty, various forms of idolatry. And you've got dialog in the face of dogmatism, and then of course structurally and institutionally you have domination and you have democracy. You have attempts of people trying to render accountable elites: kings, queens, suzerains, corporate elites, politicians--try to make these elites accountable to everyday people. So philosophy itself becomes a critical disposition of wrestling with desire in the face of death, wrestling with dialog in the face of dogmatism, and wrestling with democracy--trying to keep alive very fragile democratic experiments--in the face of structures of domination."
Cornel West, interviewed in the film Examined Life