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The self as onwardness: reading Emerson’s self-reliance and experience
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0253-6426
2013 (English)In: Foro de Educación : Pensamiento, ISSN 1698-7799, E-ISSN 1698-7802, Vol. 11, no 15, p. 29-48Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent scholarship has started to open up for social and political readings of the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who John Dewey once called «the Philosopher of Democracy». The present paper attempts to promote the force and potential of this new Emersonianism for philosophy of education showing that Emerson’s notions of self-reliance and aversion to conformity are not inherently anti-social, a-moral or a-political. The paper first argues that Emerson proposes an understanding of self and society which undermines any bipolar opposition of the two concepts already in «Self-Reliance». Secondly, a closer reading of the later essay «Experience» examines his critique of a particular Western conception of thinking in terms of its political consequences. If there is to be hope for the individual self, then, for Emerson, there always has to be hope for a democratic society as well. He tries to remind us that the criterion for a democratic society consists in taking seriously the subjectivity of vision of every single one of its members.

Abstract [es]

Recientes estudios están empezando a abrir la obra de Ralph Waldo Emerson, a quien John Dewey una vez se refirió como «el Filósofo de la Democracia», hacia lecturas de tipo social y político. Este artículo, busca promover la fuerza y el potencial de este nuevo emersonianismo para la filosofía de la educación mostrando cómo las nociones de autosuficiencia y de aversión a la conformidad definidas por Emerson, no son inherentemente antisociales, amorales, o apolíticas. El artículo defiende, en primer lugar, que lo que Emerson propone es una comprensión del yo y de la sociedad que impide cualquier tipo de contraposición entre los dos conceptos de «auto-suficiencia». En segundo lugar, se realiza una lectura detenida de su ensayo tardío «Experiencia» donde presenta su crítica sobre la particular concepción occidental del pensamiento que tiende considerar a este con arreglo a sus consecuencias políticas. Si existe alguna esperanza para el yo individual, entonces, para Emerson, debe existir siempre la esperanza también de una sociedad democrática. Con ello, intenta recordarnos que el requisito para una sociedad democrática consiste en tomarse en serio la subjetividad de la mirada de cada uno de sus miembros.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 11, no 15, p. 29-48
Keywords [en]
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Stanley Cavell, moral perfectionism, United States, education, philosophy of education, American pragmatism
Keywords [es]
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Stanley Cavell, perfeccionismo moral, Estados Unidos, educación, filosofía de la educación, pragmatismo americano
National Category
Philosophy Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-168917DOI: 10.14516/fde.2013.011.015.001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-168917DiVA, id: diva2:1315996
Available from: 2019-05-15 Created: 2019-05-15 Last updated: 2019-05-15Bibliographically approved

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