The Graduate Review


The American thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson is a precursor to the thought of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche's writings have often admitted to the profound influence Emerson had on the latter's own philosophy. Both thinkers shared common ground in viewing philosophy and language as an active process, always in a state of becoming, where the subject is the sole creator of meaning. This paper argues that Emerson and Nietzsche recognized the liberating quality of language in the creation of one's subjectivity. Emerson and Nietzsche dismissed notions of objective knowledge by looking at how language is arbitrary, and, as such, it is up to the individual to transform chaos into order through his/her own use of language. The argument for this paper utilizes Emerson's essay, "Experience," and Nietzsche's essay, "On Truth," to show how each thinker complements the other in his depiction of language as being ever evolving and transformative in its ability to allow the subject to create meaning to build his/her own worldview.

Note on the Author

Timothy Urban is currently enrolled in the MA in English program at Bridgewater State University. His research project was completed in the spring of 2015 under the mentorship of Professor Ann Brunjes. He plans on pursuing a Ph.D. once he completes his coursework in the MA program at Bridgewater State University.

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