austin bailey CUNY Graduate Center, Hunter College All persons, all things which we have known, are here present, and many more than we see; the world is full. --Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Nominalist and Realist" (Essays & Lectures) I know better than to claim any completeness for my picture. I am a fragment, and this is a fragment of me. --Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Experience" (Essays & Lectures) Despite his lifelong admiration of Plato, Emerson also found the Platonic philosophical temperament excessive. "Nominalist and Realist" (from "Essays, Second Series") evokes a critique of the Platonic tendency toward severe abstraction. At the opening of the essay, Emerson remarks: "The genius of the Platonists, is intoxicating to the student, yet how few particulars of it can I detach from all their books" (Essays & Lectures 575). Continuing, he says: "We have such exorbitant eyes, that on seeing the smallest arc, we complete the curve, and when the curtain is lifted from the diagram which it seemed to veil, we are vexed to find that no more was drawn, than just that fragment of an arc which we first beheld" (EL 575). If we as viewers quixotically "complete the curve," this is due
The Pluralist – University of Illinois Press
Published: Mar 4, 2016
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