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Transcendentalism

A brief presentation on the background of the period where Transcendentalism was popular.
by

Julia Fletcher

on 9 October 2012

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Transcript of Transcendentalism

Julia, Jack, Stephen and Ryan A Time of Transcendentalism Transcendentalism was introduced at the heart of the Great Revival period, around the 1830's and mid 40's of American history, an is characterized by a shift away from the Calvinists and Puritans' pejorative, and misanthropic views on the nature of humanity. Such was the case with many new sects of Christianity which are rather well known today as Unitarians, Methodists, and more. Not only that, but also many women's rights groups sprouted from this period, also prison reforms, abolitionist movements, and temperance movements. Transcendentalists during this time came together to pool their knowledge and common interests and protest the general state of culture and society; they called for a life in tuned with nature(similar to the philosophical approach of Cynicism), a personal relatiponship with God, and stressed the importance of individualism. The Basics Some important figures.. Margaret Fuller, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson - Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1842, The Transcendentalist The German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, has played an immense role in shaping the transcendental school of philosophy with his works on what he called Transcendental Idealism which split knowledge into two types of "intuitions"(Empirical knowledge, and Synthetic A priori knowledge). The first is knowledge coming from direct observations, and interactions from and with the external world. A priori knowledge is knowledge that is intuitive and does not require any experience to gain; in a most irreducible sense, it is the belief in knowledge that you are born having. On top of these two things is what Kant called "understanding" or a concept of something, for example you would have a concept of what a book is, and real knowledge of the book is gained by combining these three things together, and through such reasoning a higher understanding of the world, and only then can you finally transcend your prior ignorance, and reach a plain of higher knowledge.
"all knowledge transcendental which is concerned not with objects but with our mode of knowing objects."-Immaneul Kant Characteristics of Transcendentalism:
Nature (Held the truths of life)

Individualism (Rejection of standard societal beliefs)

Moral Enthusiasm (Anti- Aristocracy and Anti- Slavery)
Literary focus (Literature was used by artists and writers to express themselves)

Neo-platonic philosophy Styles and Characteristics of the Time The transcendentalists believed in finding personal happiness, and higher knowledge through contemplation of nature and culture. They often criticized the idea of organized religion because they did not believe that they needed an established, organized religion with a certain set of beliefs. This reflects upon the cultural changes occurring in America; one of them being the distancing from old Calvinist and Puritan views, which were negative outlooks on human nature and man's relationship with God. The transcendentalists adapted a romantic view of the human nature, essentially believing that is was overall good and also believed that there was a higher existence or a higher knowledge that could only be obtained through contemplation of thought and nature. By doing so, they became closer to god, and drew many parallels to Plato’s theory of forms, and Kant’s transcendental idealism. http://public.wsu.edu/~campbelld/amlit/amtrans.htm
http://womenshistory.about.com/bltranscend.htm
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/ihas/icon/transcend.html
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/transcendentalism/
http://www.religionandnature.com/ern/sample/Gould--Transcendentalism.pdf
http://howlandpowpak.neomin.org/powpak/cgi-bin/article_display_page.pl?id=thomas.williams/american&ar=21 - Style and how this style reflects the values/concerns of the time
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/walt-whitman
http://www.online-literature.com/periods/transcendentalism.php
The philosophy Book Big Ideas Simply Explained. By DK
http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/all-is-truth/
http://www.rwe.org/articles/728-from-kant-to-emerson-a-transcontinental-exploration-of-the-evolution-of-transcendentalism.html Work Sources
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