Rejecting Racism, Restoring Intuition
John Muir, Sacred Value, and Romanticism
Keywords:John Muir, sacred value, intuition, Romanticism, racism, Indigenous peoples, G.W.F. Hegel
John Muir continues to influence Americans to see the natural world as replete with sacred value. Yet Muir’s work is not without its shadow side: Muir’s racism against Indigenous peoples permeates his writing. I locate both the valuable and vile views inherent in Muir’s moral vision in his uncritical reliance on Romantic epistemology, and particularly the recourse Muir continually made to the power of his intuition. Applying insights from G. W. F. Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, I offer an account of the various roles Muir’s intuitions played in his thinking so as to better contextualize the best and worst features of his moral thought.
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