Chaadayev and Emerson — Two Mystical Pragmatists

  • W. J. Gavin
  • T. J. Blakeley
Part of the Sovietica book series (SOVA, volume 38)


In the previous chapter the thesis was put forth that the nineteenth century Russian and American philosophical contexts were unfinished, rough-hewn, and still in the making. Both were pioneer cultures in many senses, struggling to build a place for themselves in the wilderness and demanding individual commitment to this task. Both traditions acknowledged and applauded the “ambiguity” and “mystery” of life. There developed in both countries a type of “mystic pragmatism”, an outlook which refused to separate thought and action, the intellectual and the emotional, the sacred and the secular. Both traditions realized that myopia, either in the sense of ornamental knowledge or of action-for-action’s sake, was detrimental to man. The denial of the bifurcation of experience into “subjective” vs. “objective” aspects was part of a search for wholeness in cultural self-expression.


Christian Tradition American Scholar Reidel Publishing Company Individual Commitment Fellow Countryman 
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Copyright information

© Russian Review 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. J. Gavin
  • T. J. Blakeley

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