Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Alexander, Thomas


This thesis is a reading of the role of the individual in the social philosophies of Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Dewey. It seeks to reconstruct both philosophers as putting forth a philosophy of social individualism by putting the two in conversation with one another through the method of Hegelian dialectic. The line of influence from Emerson to Dewey is touched upon, and some time is spent comparing the two scholars in terms of how their philosophies are unique reactions to their experience of America and as Americans. A large part of the thesis is spent in defense of Emerson from contemporary readings that are found to not fully address the complexity of the philosopher, especially how he was reacting to his particular cultural situation.




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