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Emerson’s Struggle: A Prelude to Radical Empiricism

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If classical American pragmatism has a beating heart, it must be radical empiricism. A generation before William James, Charles Sanders Peirce, John Dewey and others adopted their own styles of radical empiricism, Ralph Waldo Emerson worked on his combination. He composed philosophical poetry and poetic philosophy. But he also did more. Some of his earliest speaking engagements focused on the place of science in his own world-view. And some of his last work continued this life-long interest. Emerson spent a lifetime struggling to contain and express the corresponding truths of poetry, philosophy and science. This struggle as prelude to radical empiricism is the focus of my essay.


Michael E. Brady    
Parkland College
United States


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