Journal of Philosophy of Life

An international peer-reviewed open access journal dedicated to the philosophy of life, death, and nature, supported by the Research Institute for Contemporary Philosophy of Life, Osaka Prefecture University


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Emerson’s Argument for Self-reliance as a Significant Factor in a Flourishing Life

Kathleen O’Dwyer

Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.2, No.1 (March 2012):102-110



This essay explores Emerson’s reflections on self-reliance with particular reference to Emerson’s understanding of the concept of self-reliance, his view of ‘conformity’ as the major obstacle to self-reliance, and the moral significance of his thought. The essay is based on the premise that Emerson’s philosophy of self-reliance, self-reference and self-responsibility has a relevance and an application to our contemporary lives which are often conducted through subtle shades of compliance and acquiescence to popular opinion and prevailing fashions of thought and behaviour.

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