Thomas Jefferson's Philosophical Anthropology
Publication Year: 2013
Although scholars have adequately covered Thomas Jefferson’s general ideas about human nature and race, this is the first book to examine what Maurizio Valsania terms Jefferson’s "philosophical anthropology"—philosophical in the sense that he concerned himself not with describing how humans are, culturally or otherwise, but with the kind of human being Jefferson thought he was, wanted to become, and wished for citizens to be for the future of the United States. Valsania’s exploration of this philosophical anthropology touches on Jefferson’s concepts of nationalism, slavery, gender roles, modernity, affiliation, and community. More than that, Nature's Man shows how Jefferson could advocate equality and yet control and own other human beings.
A humanist who asserted the right of all people to personal fulfillment, Jefferson nevertheless had a complex philosophy that also acknowledged the dynamism of nature and the limits of human imagination. Despite Jefferson's famous advocacy of apparently individualistic rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, Valsania argues that both Jefferson's yearning for the human individual to become something good and his fear that this hypothetical being would turn into something bad were rooted in a specific form of communitarianism. Absorbing and responding to certain moral-philosophical currents in Europe, Jefferson’s nature-infused vision underscored the connection between the individual and the community.
Published by: University of Virginia Press
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...2 Jeffersonâs Communitarianism: In Search of the Affiliated Man 45...
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It is a relief to sit at the desk, at last, and write the acknowledgments. It is like looking back and remembering friends and companions who made an While preparing this book, I had the privilege to share experiences and ideas with wonderful persons. Andrew Burstein, to begin with, has been a source of inspiration for many years. I have read his books over and over ...
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Thomas Jefferson developed specific and personal notions about physical an-thropology and races, as well as about cultural anthropology, ethnicity, and human nature. This book, however, does not expressly delve into human nature or races. It is rather a book about the way desires, fears, and historical circumstances qualify the idea of human nature. It is a book about Jeffersonâs ...
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Everyone knows that Jefferson was modern; but do we know precisely what The new âmanâ Jefferson wanted to create, and the possible new men he resisted and feared, was undeniably shaped by new visions. The momentous historical, cultural, and intellectual transformations that eighteenth-century society underwent conditioned every anthropological vision, both in Europe ...
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Jeffersonâs idea that âmenâ should listen to nature entailed the notion of communitarianism. Unlike the experience of many other animals, for hu-man beings, the voice of nature always spoke through the community. Stated otherwise, natural âmenâ needed the mediation offered by the social setting in which they live. Individuals had to be measured against a larger whole at ...
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The individual identified by Jeffersonâs philosophical anthropology had to submit to a superior necessity, the survival of the community. This perspec-tive on the theme of communitarianism cum naturalism reveals the other side of the âcommunity-man,â including what it meant, for Jefferson the philosophical anthropologist, to be a Virginian as well. Being a Virginian ...
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This book should not be understood as a reiteration of the old complaint that Jefferson was a hypocrite who failed to live up to his own inspiring ide-als. His contradictions were definitely not just between word and deed. Un-deniably a great man, Jefferson was caught, instead, in still greater tensions and contradictions traceable within his several ideals, statements, theories, ...
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...1. For good accounts of Jeffersonâs physical and cultural anthropology, see Boorstin, Lost World of Jefferson, 59â108, and Curti, Human Nature.2. Curti, Human Nature, 87. See also Miller, Jefferson and Nature, 57â87, and 4. TJ to Joseph Priestley, 27 January 1800, Papers of Thomas Jefferson (hereafter cited as PTJ ), 31:341. On Jefferson rejecting the doctrine that there is nothing new ...
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Ackerman, Bruce. The Failure of the Founding Fathers: Jefferson, Marshall, and the Rise Adams, John. The Adams-Jefferson Letters. Ed. Lester J. Cappon. 1959. Reprint, Chapel Adams, John Quincy. Writings of John Quincy Adams. Ed. Worthington Chauncey Appleby, Joyce. âCommercial Farming and the âAgrarian Mythâ in the Early Repub-âââ. âWhat Is Still American in Jeffersonâs Political Philosophy?â In Liberalism ...
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Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Jeffersonian America