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The Political Thought of Henry David ThoreauPrivatism and the Practice of Philosophy$
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Jonathan McKenzie

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813166308

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813166308.001.0001

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Reflective Simplification

Reflective Simplification

The Questions of a Philosophical Life

Chapter:
(p.31) 1 Reflective Simplification
Source:
The Political Thought of Henry David Thoreau
Author(s):

Jonathan McKenzie

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813166308.003.0002

This chapter examines the ways in which the ancient philosophical act of reflective simplification animates Thoreau’s philosophical project. Thoreau’s journals and letters provide ample evidence of a Socratic way of practicing philosophy as a way of life, and these private sources reflect heavily on Thoreau’s public writings. Finally, the chapter provides a reading of Walden that isolates Thoreau’s use of persistent questioning, a pedagogical and philosophical technique mastered by the late Stoics.

Keywords:   Thoreau, Epictetus, Socrates, Simplification

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