Author

Adam Adler

Date of Award

6-15-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Sattelmeyer - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Melissa Merritt

Third Advisor

Dr. Reiner Smolinski

Abstract

Scholarship on Emerson to date has not considered Spinoza’s influence upon his thought. Indeed, from his lifetime until the twentieth century, Emerson’s friends and disciples engaged in a concerted cover-up because of Spinoza’s hated name. However, Emerson mentioned his respect and admiration of Spinoza in his journals, letters, lectures, and essays, and Emerson’s thought clearly shows an importation of ideas central to Spinoza’s system of metaphysics, ethics, and biblical hermeneutics. In this essay, I undertake a biographical and philosophical study in order to show the extent of Spinoza’s influence on Emerson and how this changes the traditional understanding of Emerson’s thought.

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