Martin A. Coleman
Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis
There is a traditional interpretation of the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson that portrays him as a champion of nature, wilderness, or country life and an opponent of the city, technology, or urban life. Such a view, though, neglects the role of human activity in the universe as Emerson saw it. Furthermore, this view neglects the proper relation between soul and nature in the universe and risks entailing a philosophy of materialism--an unacceptable position for Emerson. An examination of Emerson's philosophy will show that it is not fundamentally hostile to urban life or technology, and that, in fact, an anti-urban position is opposed to the most central themes of Emerson's philosophical vision.
Keywords Emerson  nature  materialism  urban life
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