chapter  2
14 Pages

The Artist of the Supplement

CanHawthorne'sscepticismbeseeninawider perspective?Thegreatphilosophicaldebateofthe agecanbedescribedasadebatebetween SensationalismandIntuitionalism,inthedouble antagonismsfirstevidencedinthesupersessionof LockeansensationalistthoughtbyScottishCommon Senseappealstoinnatepropensities(i.e.the moralsense),andsecond,thelimitedacceptanceof Kantian(Transcendentalist)ideasofinnate categories,asamongtheAmericancateriesknown intimatelytoHawthorne.Ineachdisputethe importanceofessentialistthoughtcanbeseen:the CommonSensecriticsofLockeanSensationalist thought(Brown,Stewart,Reid)heldthatlater sophisticationsofLockeantheoryorHartley's doctrineoftheAssociationofideasby"infidels" suchasHume,andproponentsofmaterialismsuchas LavatarorCombe,SpurzheimandGallorCondillac, haddemonstratedacrucialweaknessinthemodelof knowledgethroughsensationandreflectionwhich wouldonlyberedressedbyanappealtoauniversal experienceofaninherentmoralsenseinmankind. Hawthornebelongedlargelytothisschoolof thought,throughhiseducationatBowdoinCollege andhislaterreadinginDugaldSteward,Thomas BrownandDavidHartley[l].AdherentsofKantian theory,orratherofitsmorecolourfulmodulations throughFichteandSchillingviaCousinand Coleridge,proposedamoresweepingcommitmentto immediate,directknowledgeoftheimmaterialand theeternal.AquotationfromLaurensPerseus Hickock,oneofthelessrestrainedphilosophical voluptuaries,willillustrate:"Inthisscience [rationalpsychology]wepassfromthefactsof experiencewhollyoutbeyondit,andseekforthe rationaleofexperienceitselfinthenecessaryand

universalprincipleswhichmustbeconditionalfor allfactsofapossibleexperience....Inthe conclusionofthisscienceitbecomescompetentfor ustoaffirm,notasfrommereexperiencewemay, thatthisis,but,fromthesenecessaryand universalprinciples,thatthismustbe"[2].The familiarcredooftheTranscendentalistshadits rootsinsuchassertionsofinevitableprinciples ofbeingbutfloweredmorespectacularlyinthe orphicsayingsofEmerson'scircle:"Itisthe perpetualeffortofconsciencetodivorcethesoul fromthedominionofsense;tonullifythe dualitiesoftheapparent,andrestorethe intuitionofthereal....Understandingnotes diversity;consciencealonedivinesunity,and integratesallexperienceinidentityofspirit." ThusBronsonAlcottinTheDial,(July,1840)[3].