Chapter

Articulating a Huckleberry Cosmos

Laura Dassow Walls

in Thoreau's Importance for Philosophy

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780823239306
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823239344 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823239306.003.0006

Series: American Philosophy (FUP)

Articulating a Huckleberry Cosmos

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In his eulogy for Thoreau, Emerson accused his friend of failing to “engineer for America,” choosing instead to be “captain of a huckleberry-party.” Indeed, in Wild Fruits, Thoreau articulated a utopian vision: the experience of knowing, gathering, and tasting wild fruits modeled the ways experience in nature educates the self. In this moral ecology of knowledge, the collective gathering and sharing of wild fruits figures the transformation of nature from alienated commodity to a Eucharistic community that would reform capitalism from within. Thoreau thus translates Humboldt's concept of Cosmos from the stars above to the star-stuff under our feet, using planetary earth to show his neighbors the extent of their cosmic relations, including to the languages through which those relations are both enacted and articulated.

Keywords: Moral ecology; cosmos; Humboldt; environmental ethics; epistemology; science

Chapter.  8862 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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