Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 14 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article exhibits the situations that led the Transcendentalists to turn to Scottish Common Sense philosophy and the reasons behind this turn. In contrast to eighteenth-century British Enlightenment philosophy, the Transcendentalists tended to define their metaphysics and their epistemology and rejected the neoclassical literary authors on their college curriculum. It was in defiance of those philosophies that the young Emerson at Harvard adopted the Scottish Common Sense philosophies of Thomas Reid and Dugald Stewart. The article explains that the turn signaled the Transcendentalists' desire not only for a less skeptical philosophy of human knowledge but also for an unequivocal explanation of moral conduct. The article also examines the indebtedness of Transcendentalists towards the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers. Though they explicitly rejected it in the area of epistemology and metaphysics, it had a much less acknowledged adoption in the field of moral philosophy.

Keywords: Scottish Common Sense philosophy, epistemology, skeptical, Scottish Enlightenment theory

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.