Authors
Randy L. Friedman
State University of New York at Binghamton
Abstract
Beginning with Emerson's turn from his pulpit, many argue that American philosophy has rigorously held forth against supernaturalism and metaphysics. While most read self-reliance as a call for individualism, I argue that self-reliance is the application of the moral sentiment to the source of existence Emerson calls the Over-soul. Figures like George Kateb, Stanley Cavell, and Jeffrey Stout have presented a very different picture of American pragmatism. Stout, in particular, is responsible for building up what I call "the myth of the Emersonian democrat." We find that a few philosophical positions generally constitute this myth. The Emersonian democrat is secular, sceptical, relativist, anti-realist, and anti-metaphysical. In fact, on my reading of the strand of pragmatism running from Emerson through James to Dewey, the pluralism of the Emersonian democrat depends on certain metaphysical commitments. The traditional reading of Emerson as anti-religion, and by extension, anti-religious, impedes a better understanding of self-reliance and obfuscates some of the Emersonian inheritances in James and Dewey.
Keywords Ralph Waldo Emerson  self-reliance  individualism
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1353/csp.2007.0012
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,159
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

America's Philosophical Vision.John E. Smith - 1992 - University of Chicago Press.
The Eternal and the Practical.Josiah Royce - 1904 - Philosophical Review 13 (2):113-142.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Cavell’s “Moral Perfectionism” or Emerson’s “Moral Sentiment”?Joseph Urbas - 2010 - European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 2 (2):41-53.
Towards an Embodied Poetics of the Self: Personal Renewal in Dewey and Cavell.D. Granger - 2001 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 20 (2):107-124.
The New American Scholar.John Hansen - 2014 - The Pluralist 9 (1):97-103.
Individuality: The Emersonian Background of the Bergson-James Controversy.Anna M. Nieddu - 2011 - European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 3 (1):61-72.
Brahma.Ralph Waldo Emerson - unknown - In Various (ed.), Emerson Poems.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
85 ( #128,142 of 2,454,809 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,241 of 2,454,809 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes