Definition of transcendentalism in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌtran(t)ˌsenˈden(t)lˌizəm/


1 (Transcendentalism) An idealistic philosophical and social movement that developed in New England around 1836 in reaction to rationalism. Influenced by romanticism, Platonism, and Kantian philosophy, it taught that divinity pervades all nature and humanity, and its members held progressive views on feminism and communal living. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were central figures.
Example sentences
  • Emerson's ‘The Transcendentalist’ stands as a manifesto of this philosophical movement, in which he explicitly identifies Transcendentalism as a form of philosophical Idealism.
  • Thoreau's collection of essays reflects the philosophy of American Transcendentalism in practice.
  • Emerson's Transcendentalism drew on German idealism and English pastoral poetry.
2A system developed by Immanuel Kant, based on the idea that, in order to understand the nature of reality, one must first examine and analyze the reasoning process that governs the nature of experience.
Example sentences
  • Heidegger had become increasingly impatient with Husserl's transcendentalism and Husserl was unwilling or unable to see any philosophical merit in Heidegger's ‘fundamental ontology’.
  • It was there that he drew upon basic ideas common to transcendentalism but used them in support of traditional theology rather than as a substitute.
  • In fact, from our perspective the transcendentalism of temporality is destroyed most decisively by the fact that it is now impossible to measure labor, either by convention or by calculation.



Pronunciation: /ˌtran(t)ˌsenˈden(t)ləst/
(also Transcendentalist) noun& adjective
Example sentences
  • He was a transcendentalist philosopher, an educator and an abolitionist, and - like March - a vegetarian.
  • Mayo was inspired by Emerson's writings, but distinguished his beliefs from those aspects of transcendentalist philosophy which his audience found offensive.
  • He became a follower and friend of Emerson, and was, in his own words, ‘a mystic, a transcendentalist, and a natural philosopher to boot’.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tran·scen·den·tal·ism

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