Event Title

Who Is “The Scholar"? or, Looking for Truth with Emerson

Presenter Information

Liam McMillin, Oberlin CollegeFollow

Location

King Building 327

Document Type

Event

Start Date

4-28-2017 4:30 PM

End Date

4-28-2017 5:50 PM

Abstract

Where should we look for truth? This question has been at the forefront of thinkers’ minds for centuries and constitutes the central point of this essay. Focusing on the writing of Ralph Waldo Emerson, I pose the question: should “the scholar,” or thinker, bear truth or pursue it? I turn to Victor Nuovo and Stanley Cavell, both thinkers who write on Emerson’s concept of “the scholar” but come to different conclusions: in Nuovo’s interpretation of Emerson, he adopts what I call a “vertical” approach, where the scholar reveals a transcendent truth. Cavell’s reading advocates for a “horizontal” approach, where the scholar discerns truth from existence. I argue that the point of intersection between horizontal and vertical is where we can actually find Emerson, where truth is discerned from our experience and that truth is meaningful but not ultimate.

Keywords:

Emerson, truth, religion, nature, scholar, thinking

Notes

Religion Capstone Panel
Session III, Panel 18 - Religious | Philosophies
Moderator: Cheryl Cottine, Assistant Professor of Religion

Major

Religion

Advisor(s)

David Kamitsuka, Religion

Project Mentor(s)

Charles Lockwood, Religion
Margaret Kamitsuka, Religion
David Kamitsuka, Religion

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Apr 28th, 4:30 PM Apr 28th, 5:50 PM

Who Is “The Scholar"? or, Looking for Truth with Emerson

King Building 327

Where should we look for truth? This question has been at the forefront of thinkers’ minds for centuries and constitutes the central point of this essay. Focusing on the writing of Ralph Waldo Emerson, I pose the question: should “the scholar,” or thinker, bear truth or pursue it? I turn to Victor Nuovo and Stanley Cavell, both thinkers who write on Emerson’s concept of “the scholar” but come to different conclusions: in Nuovo’s interpretation of Emerson, he adopts what I call a “vertical” approach, where the scholar reveals a transcendent truth. Cavell’s reading advocates for a “horizontal” approach, where the scholar discerns truth from existence. I argue that the point of intersection between horizontal and vertical is where we can actually find Emerson, where truth is discerned from our experience and that truth is meaningful but not ultimate.