Idealism vs. Materialism in Emerson’s Transcendentalism

Dr. Timothy Whelan
Idealism vs. Materialism in Emerson’s Transcendentalism

Worship Leader: Megan Kaminski
Accompanist: Sydney Crisp

This talk will discuss Emerson’s conflict with the materialism of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke and his counter to such views through the idealism of his Transcendentalist philosophy, especially his adaptation of Kant’s ideas concerning Reason and Understanding. Emerson’s views are still resonant in modern society as the clash between materialism and idealism has not abated since his writings in the mid-19th century.

About our Speaker:

Dr. Timothy Whelan completed a Ph.D. in English, with an emphasis on American Studies, in 1989, and has been teaching American and World Literature at Georgia Southern University ever since. His dissertation was on the Puritan poet, Anne Bradstreet (1612-72), and for the past ten years, he has returned to his work at that time in Women’s Studies and the intersection of Religion and Literature in the lives of British and American Nonconformist women writers between 1650 and 1850. He has made some 50 research trips to the UK and is primarily a literary and religious historian working mainly within the context of British Nonconformity and the Romantic Era. Along the way, he has identified more than 25 women writers not previously known and produced new work on such literary figures as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and two Unitarians, Henry Crabb Robinson and Mary Hays. The outgrowth of his research has led to 14 books and more than 50 articles since 1997. Dr. Whelan’s work has been greatly enhanced by his affiliations as a Senior Visiting Research Fellow with the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage, Regent’s Park College, Oxford University, the School of English and Drama, Queen Mary University of London, and Dr. Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies, London.