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Author Meets Critics: American Philosophy before Pragmatism (Oxford University Press, 2015)

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Along with Misak’s The American Pragmatists (2013), this is one of two volumes on American philosophy in the new Oxford History of Philosophy. Goodman treats five main figures in depth--Jonathan Edwards, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau—though the book also discusses other writers (Fuller, Dubois, James, etc. It considers American philosophers not simply in isolation but in relation to the writers and movements they found important: deism, moral sense theories, the political philosophy of Locke, Romanticism, and Kant’s transcendental idealism. Goodman discusses Edwards’s condemnation and Franklin’s embrace of deism, argues that Jefferson was an Epicurean in his metaphysical views and a Christian, Stoic, and Epicurean in his moral outlook, traces, Emerson’s debts to writers from Madame de Staël to William Ellery Channing, and considers Thoreau’s orientation to the university through sitting and walking.

Author(s):

Ken Stikkers    
Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Melvin Rogers    
UCLA

Roger Ward    
Georgetown College

Russell Goodman    
University of New Mexico

 

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