Henry David Thoreau and the Moral Agency of Knowing (Google eBook)

Front Cover
University of California Press, Apr 7, 2001 - Literary Criticism - 317 pages
1 Review
In his graceful philosophical account, Alfred I. Tauber shows why Thoreau still seems so relevant today more relevant in many respects than he seemed to his contemporaries. Although Thoreau has been skillfully and thoroughly examined as a writer, naturalist, mystic, historian, social thinker, Transcendentalist, and lifelong student, we may find in Tauber's portrait of Thoreau the moralist a characterization that binds all these aspects of his career together. Thoreau was caught at a critical turn in the history of science, between the ebb of Romanticism and the rising tide of positivism. He responded to the challenges posed by the new ideal of objectivity not by rejecting the scientific worldview, but by humanizing it for himself. Tauber portrays Thoreau as a man whose moral vision guided his life's work. Each of Thoreau's projects reflected a self-proclaimed "metaphysical ethics," an articulated program of self-discovery and self-knowing. By writing, by combining precision with poetry in his naturalist pursuits and simplicity with mystical fervor in his daily activity, Thoreau sought to live a life of virtue one he would characterize as marked by deliberate choice. This unique vision of human agency and responsibility will still seem fresh and contemporary to readers at the start of the twenty-first century.

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Henry David Thoreau and the Moral Agency of Knowing

User Review  - Trane - Goodreads

In some ways Alfred Tauber's study of the relationship between Thoreau's epistemological take on nature and the "moral agency" of his "knowing" is a valuable book (primarily for Thoreau scholars), but ... Read full review


The Eternal Now
Three Apple Trees
Another Apple Tree
Thoreaus at the Crossroads
Thoreaus Personalized Facts
Thoreaus Moral Universe
The SelfPositing I
Mending the World

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2001)

Alfred I. Tauber is Professor of Philosophy, Professor of Medicine, and Director of the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University. Among his previous books are "Confessions of a Medicine Man "(1999) and "The Immune Self: Theory or Metaphor? "(1994).

Bibliographic information