Innovative Amateurs, 1829–1867

Bruce Kuklick

in A History of Philosophy in America

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780199260164
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597893 | DOI:
 Innovative Amateurs, 1829–1867

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Thinkers unconnected to institutions were the most lively and creative thinkers in the US for much of the nineteenth century. These ‘amateurs’ were more willing to adopt untraditional, usually German, ideas; and they moved more quickly to modern, secular ideas. The most important of these thinkers were James Marsh of Vermont, who introduced Kantian ideas into America; Ralph Waldo Emerson, the leading Transcendentalist; Connecticut minister Horace Bushnell, who followed Nathaniel William Taylor in remaking the theology of New England and leading it to figurative and metaphorical interpretations of the Bible; John Williamson Nevin and Philip Schaff of the Mercersburg Seminary in Pennsylvania, who meditated on an organicist Protestant theology; and The St Louis Hegelians.

Keywords: amateur philosophy; Horace Bushnell; Ralph Waldo Emerson; idealism; James Marsh; Mercersburg Seminary; John Williamson Nevin; Philip Schaff; St Louis Hegelians; Nathaniel William Taylor; Transcendentalism

Chapter.  8410 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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