Student Work for Philosophy 3387

American Philosophy

Notes on West on Emerson

Carrie Hunter

Phil 3387

for: C. Freeland

Emerson on Power (and Tradition)

I. Emerson creates new discursive and institutional space for the organic intellectual

II. Emerson also creates a conception of power

A. His view of power is multileveled

III. Emersonian theodicy

A is optimistic, moralistic and activistic

B. His theodicy also asserts that the only sin is limitation

C. This sin is overcomable

D. it is beautiful and good that sin exists to be overcome 1. Ahlstrom suggests the "American Religion" that Emerson created which extols human power, vision and newness and conquest domesticates and dilutes the critiques of Ahlstrom

IV. Emerson's obsession with sight and vision

A. promotes separateness over solidarity

B. promotes detachment over association

C. promotes individual intuition over collective action

D. disassociates vision from politics, sociality and materiality which West says is deceptive because Emerson's own "epistemology of moods" precludes it

V. His myth of the frontier converges with his theodicy

A. myth cuts geographical and cultural discourse into two

B. feature of myth

VI. Emerson felt guilt about lack of activism

A. because of his nature as a solitary, contemplative person

B. because he wanted the best of two worlds

C. His mysticism is missing key to lack of activism according to West

© Copyright 1996 Carrie Hunter

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