For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The Philosophy of Henry Thoreau: Ethics, Politics, and Nature

by Hunt, Lester H (2019)


Henry Thoreau is widely considered to be one of the greatest nature writers, among whose best-known works are Walden and Walking. In this book, Lester Hunt shows that his writings have a compelling philosophical dimension as well. Thoreau seldom argues for his ideas the way other philosophers do. Rather than setting up proofs designed to trap the reader into agreeing with him, he challenges the reader – by means of narratives, jokes, questions, and paradoxes -- to recognize possibilities previously unknown and unexplored. Thoreau's own explorations led him to several distinctively philosophical theories: an intuitionist metaethics, an ethics based on virtue and self-realization, a politics that is fundamentally individualist and anarchist, and a secular religion in which nature is pre-eminent.


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