Transcendentalism is an American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century, centered around Ralph Waldo Emerson. Other important transcendentalists were Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Amos Bronson Alcott, Frederic Henry Hedge, and Theodore Parker. Stimulated by English and German Romanticism, the Biblical criticism of Herder and Schleiermacher, and the skepticism of Hume, the transcendentalists operated with the sense that a new era was at hand. They were critics of their contemporary society for its unthinking conformity, and (...) urged that each individual find, in Emerson's words, “an original relation to the universe”. Emerson and Thoreau sought this relation in solitude amidst nature, and in their writing. By the 1840s they, along with other transcendentalists, were engaged in the social experiments of Brook Farm, Fruitlands, and Walden; and, by the 1850's in an increasingly urgent critique of American slavery. (shrink)
The first major study since the 1930s of the relationship between American Transcendentalism and Asian religions, and the first comprehensive work to include post-Civil War Transcendentalists like Samuel Johnson, this book is encyclopedic in scope. Beginning with the inception of Transcendentalist Orientalism in Europe, Versluis covers the entire history of American Transcendentalism into the twentieth century, and the profound influence of Orientalism on the movement--including its analogues and influences in world religious dialogue. He examines what he calls "positive (...) Orientalism," which recognizes the value and perennial truths in Asian religions and cultures, not only in the writings of major figures like Thoreau and Emerson, but also in contemporary popular magazines. Versluis's exploration of the impact of Transcendentalism on the twentieth-century study of comparative religions has ramifications for the study of religious history, comparative religion, literature, politics, history, and art history. (shrink)
One of the more superficially perplexing features of Lacan’s notion of objet petit a is the fact that he simultaneously characterizes it as both non-specularizable (i.e., incapable of being captured in spatio-temporal representations) and specular (i.e., incarnated in visible avatars). This assignment of the apparently contradictory attributes of visibility and invisibility to object a is a reflection of this object’s strange position at the intersection of transcendental and empirical dimensions. Indeed, this object, which Lacan holds up as his central psychoanalytic (...) discovery, raises important philosophical questions about the transcendental-empirical distinction, arguably short-circuiting in interesting, productive ways this dichotomy and many of its permutations. This article seeks to achieve two aims: one, to clarify how and why Lacan situates object a between the specular and the non-specular; and, two, to extract from the results of this clarification a preliminary sketch of a post-Lacanian transcendentalism that is also thoroughly materialist. (shrink)
Transcendentalism was a philosophical movement that arose prior to Darwin publishing The Origin of Species. It arose out of the Enlightenment, in which the importance of natural law in the working of the universe was recognized. Ralph Waldo Emerson was interested in exploring religious questions from the point of view of the enlightenment. For him, the human faculty of intuition was very interesting. After Darwin was published, most of science lost interest in exploring human intuition partly because no naturalistic (...) basic for it was known. Today, it is appropriate to return to the study of transcendentalism, building on what was done in the 19th century, but with a 21st century understanding of the laws of nature. Much work can be done from this perspective, possibly developing a new philosophy of the humanities. This is the defining work by the author of this approach to philosophy. (shrink)
American transcendentalism is essentially a kind of practice by which the world of facts and the categories of common sense are temporarily exchanged for the world of ideas and the categories of imagination. The point of this exchange is to make life better by lifting us above the conflicts and struggles that weigh on our souls. As these chains fall away, our souls rise to heightened experiences of freedom and union with the good. Emerson and Thoreau are the two (...) most significant nineteenth century proponents of American transcendentalism. (shrink)
The Western messanger and The Dial -- Orestes A. Brownson and The Boston quarterly review -- The Present -- The Harbinger -- The Spirit of the age -- Elizabeth Peabody and her Xsthetic papers -- The Massachusetts quarterly review -- The Dial (Cincinnati)--The Radical -- The Index -- Appendix: Two uncollected Emerson items.
This essay offers some fairly extensive objections to the critique of Bhaskar’s use of transcendental arguments found in chapter four of Tuukka Kaidesoja’s Naturalizing Critical Realist Social Ontology. The essay has three sections that correspond to three sets of objections, each of which centres around a certain topic in Kaidesoja’s critique. The first concerns Kaidesoja’s appeal to the connection between transcendental arguments and Kant’s transcendental idealism to criticize Bhaskar. The second concerns Kaidesoja’s problematization of a posteriori premises in Bhaskar’s transcendental (...) arguments. The third concerns Kaidesoja’s rejection of the prospect of ‘naturalized transcendental arguments’ and the non-transcendental ‘naturalistic arguments’ he proposes as an alternative. The overall aim of this essay is not just to defend Bhaskar’s naturalized transcendentalism against Kaidesoja’s metaphilosophical naturalism but also to help counter the association of transcendental philosophy with anti-naturalistic apriorism, foundationalism, idealism, and infalliblism frequently voiced by antitranscendental philosophers. (shrink)
In this article, I assess Tuukka Kaidesoja’s response to my objections to his critique of transcendental arguments and respond to his criticisms of my work. I argue that his new attempt to link transcendental arguments to Kant’s transcendental idealism is just as question-begging as his previous attempt, that his problematization of Bhaskar’s use of Kantian terminology is premised upon a confusion, and that his elaboration of explanatory necessity still fails to clearly distinguish it from transcendental necessity. I also elaborate and (...) defend my conception of transcendental arguments and the relative a priority it involves against Kaidesoja’s criticisms of them. While I concede the validity of his concerns about the starting point of Bhaskar’s transcendental analysis of experimental activity, I maintain that this does not undermine naturalized transcendentalism itself. I thus conclude that Kaidesoja’s metaphilosophical naturalism is premised upon a flawed critique of transcendentalism and an insufficiently motivated alternative approach. (shrink)
The review presents the International Workshop “Transcendental Turn in Contemporary Philosophy-3: Nature of Transcendental Philosophy” held in Moscow on 19-22 April, 2018. The workshop was co-sponsored by the State Academic University for the Humanities, the Russian State University for the Humanities and the Foundation for the Humanities. The review examines the main topics of the workshop, summarises the main presentations and explicates the problem area of modern interpretations of Kant and the development of transcendentalism in the twentieth and twenty-first (...) centuries. The presentations, questions and discussions centred around the main problems of transcendentalism: the differences between the phenomenon and the thing in itself, between the first and second editions of the Critique of Pure Reason, the relationship between realist and constructivist aspects of Kantian transcendentalism, the transformation of Kantian transcendental philosophy in Neo-Kantianism and phenomenology and more. (shrink)
ArgumentThis paper aims at contributing to the ongoing efforts to get a firmer grasp of the systematic significance of the entanglement of idealism and empiricism in Helmholtz's work. Contrary to existing analyses, however, the focal point of the present exposition is Helmholtz's attempt to articulate a psychological account of objectification. Helmholtz's motive, as well as his solution to the problem of the object are outlined, and interpreted against the background of his scientific practice on the one hand, and that of (...) empiricist and idealist analyses of experience on the other. The specifically psychological angle taken, not only prompts us to consider figures who have hitherto been treated as having only minor import for Helmholtz interpretation, it furthermore sheds new light on some central tenets of the latter's psychological stance that have hitherto remained underappreciated. For one thing, this analysis reveals an explicit voluntarist tendency in Helmholtz's psychological theory. In conclusion, it is argued that the systematic significance of Helmholtz's empirico-transcendentalism with respect to questions of the mind is best understood as an attempt to found his empirical theory of perception in a second order, normative account of epistemic subjectivity. (shrink)
At the beginning of "The Law of Mind," Charles S. Peirce makes this striking admission (W8:135):I may mention, for the benefit of those who are curious in studying mental biographies, that I was born and reared in the neighborhood of Concord—I mean in Cambridge—at the time when Emerson, Hedge, and their friends were disseminating the ideas that they had caught from Schelling, and Schelling from Plotinus, from Boehm, or from God knows what minds struck with the monstrous mysticism of the (...) East. But the atmosphere of Cambridge held many an antiseptic against Concord transcendentalism; and I am not conscious of having contracted any of that virus. Nevertheless, it is probable that some cultured bacilli, some benignant .. (shrink)
. E. O. Wilson writes that the “choice between transcendentalism and empiricism” is this century's “version of the struggle for men's soul” . The transcendentalist argues for theism—that there is a God, a creator of the world. The empiricist instead makes the point that the notion of God, including morality and ethics, are adaptive structures of human evolution. Before entering the debate of the transcendentalist/empiricist controversy I analyze how things exist and suggest that all that is exists as united (...) diversity, as identity in difference. I argue that oneness by itself is intangible because wholes are concrete only through their tangible parts. I briefly discuss this understanding of existence in the realm of art to show that transcendence and immanence are not mutually exclusive but constitute each other. I conclude that existence, the hypostasis of unity in diversity, might be seen as a gift from absolute existence. In this view, the world might reveal itself as a gift that reflects the trinitarian existence of the Giver. (shrink)
This article seeks to grasp the meaning of Michel Henry's use of the term "transcendental" to understand its specific nature as pure experience that owes nothing to the constituted or the a posteriori. It then considers the methodological consequences and difficulties resulting from such a conception of the transcendental. According to my hypothesis, in order to maintain the "major division" between the empirical and the transcendental, material phenomenology is caught in a form of double bind. One cannot say much about (...) the transcendental without risking contamination by the empirical. As far as the constituted is concerned, it is certainly possible to refer to it, but actually there is nothing to say. This paper tests this interpretative hypothesis against a specific example, namely, the phenomenological description of feeling offered by Henry. The analysis concludes by considering whether material phenomenology does not lapse into what Rudolf Bernet calls a form of "hyper-transcendentalism" in the sense that the totality of empirical reality ends by being "transcendentalized". No basis can be provided for intentionality, as Henry sometimes claims: it becomes a superfluous concept. (shrink)
This book explores the theoretical relationship between feminism and transcendentalism through the ideas and activism of prominent 19th century female thinkers and activists such as Ednah Cheney, Caroline Dall, Margaret Fuller, and Elizabeth Oakes Smith.
In multiple autobiographical sketches, Charles S. Peirce identifies New England Transcendentalism as an essential part of his intellectual biography. A well-known instance is the passage opening "The Law of Mind" that identifies the setting of his childhood and early education within "the neighborhood of Concord": I may mention, for the benefit of those who are curious in studying mental biographies, that I was born and reared in the neighborhood of Concord,—I mean in Cambridge,—at the time when Emerson, Hedge, and (...) their friends were disseminating the ideas that they had caught from Schelling, and Schelling from Plotinus, from Boehm, or from God knows what minds stricken with the monstrous mysticism of the East.... (shrink)
In this essay, the reminiscences of Margaret Fuller, feminist activist and member of the American Transcendentalist movement, from her journey to the Great Lakes region, entitled Summer on the Lakes, are considered in the light of EcoGothic considerations. The essay shows how Fuller’s journey disillusioned her about progress and led to abandoning the serene vision of nature and landscapes reflected in the works of Transcendentalists. The destruction of nature and landscape verging on an ecological catastrophe is presented by Fuller in (...) the perspective of the Gothic, as a price for the technological development driven by the capitalist economy. The Gothic character of Summer on the Lakes derives from the mental condition of the writer and a pessimistic vision arising from the debunking of the myth of America as a virgin land. Fuller’s work constitutes an EcoGothic tribute to the indigenous inhabitants of America—but also a Gothic live burial of the Native Americans who do still live in the regions she visits—as well as to Mariana and Frederica, unusual and gothicized women excluded from society. By bringing together Fuller’s observations about nature, indigenous peoples and marginalized women, the essay shows how Fuller’s text prophetically announces the beginning of the end of the American environment. (shrink)
This article addresses the ongoing debate between transcendental pragmatics and philosophical hermeneutics. I argue that Apel's version of linguistic transcendentalism is to be refuted, if one succeeds in demonstrating that the normative conditions of intersubjective validity of the argumentative discourse are `derivable' from the fore-structure of the discursive-practical medium of communication. Loci for specifically hermeneutical investigations of this fore-structure include the proto-normativity of the discursive practices, the effective-historical openness of the medium of communication, and the interplay between argumentative discourse (...) and medium. (shrink)
This paper examines normative elements in Henri Lauener’s “open transcendentalism,” with an eye to evaluate distinctive theses. After setting out some of Lauener’s basic positions in this area, in comparison with related views in Quine’s work, I argue that the views surveyed converge on a normative and contextualist cognitivism in Lauener’s methodological and epistemological perspective. Though he resists similar conclusion in the name of anti-naturalism, I argue that his “open transcendentalism” is plausibly construed as a non reductive naturalism.
The paper aims to reconstruct Heidegger’s historical-intentional assumptions in his ontological interpretation of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. The paper presents young Heidegger’s project of the “metaphysical-teleological interpretation of consciousness.” The project indicates the direction of his further ontological interpretation of transcendentalism: Heidegger stands up to the traditional, well known neo-Kantian interpretation of the Critique, and offers a new conception of ontological knowledge and cognition. According to this conception, cognition is grounded in transcendental imagination where a threefold synthesis takes (...) place. Heidegger’s original temporal interpretation of transcendental schematism is also recalled to stress the significance of his new ontological approach to Kant’s theoretical philosophy. (shrink)
The author argues that despite appears to the contrary the transcendentalism naturalism dichotomy is neither exclusive nor exhaustive. It is possible for someone to give a transcendental argument demonstrating that the world must have certain characteristics. If the argument is correct, i.e., if water is necessarily H2O, then science and the naturalist will find water to be H2O in fact. One can therefore be a transcendentalist and naturalist at the same time. The dichotomy is not exhaustive either, since it (...) is possible to develop a philosophy which is descriptive of reality and yet is neither transcendental nor naturalistic. The author illustrates this alternative with a view he calls “Piecemeal Realism.”. (shrink)