Date of Award

8-10-2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Eric Wilson

Second Advisor

Tim O'Keefe

Third Advisor

John Lysaker

Abstract

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s status as a canonical figure in American history and literature is firmly established, but there is little agreement on his place within the philosophical canon. The most prominent interpretations classify him as either a “pragmatist” or an “Emersonian moral perfectionist.” Yet, there is no consensus on whether these labels are accurate. I argue for an alternative hermeneutic approach to Emerson. Emerson should be read as a virtue ethicist.

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