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Between the Species

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Ethics Group

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Research Workshop: "Enslaved by Freedom: Obedience and Choice in the Work of Étienne de Boétie and Ralph Waldo Emerson"

Chris Morales

Friday, March 6, 2020 12:10-2:00 pm in Clyde P. Fisher Science Hall 033-0287

Abstract:  Living during the American Market Revolution, the famous transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) witnessed the development of American capitalism into more than just an economic system. During this period American society and culture were reorganized according to the logic of the market into networks that simultaneously made people more interdependent and more alienated from one another.In today's world certain experiences of freedom are the means of our oppression. At the same time, a true emancipation is conditioned by moments of necessity, obedience and kenosis (self-emptying). I will examine these claims first as grounded in the work of French political philosopher Étienne de Boétie (1530–1563) and then that of Emerson himself.

Bio: Chris Morales is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at UCSB. He holds degrees from Harvard and the University of Amsterdam. His research specialities are Continental philosophy and the history of Christian thought. He’s especially interested in issues of human finitude, emotions, and justice. His dissertation The Dialectics of Friendship, examines the religious, ethical, and political significance of friendship in the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Friedrich Nietzsche. Chris works as the writing specialist for the McNair Scholars Program at UCSB.

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