Thoreau and the Politics of Ordinary Actions.

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    • Abstract:
      Many regard Henry David Thoreau as an apolitical or even antipolitical thinker, concerned above all with his personal moral purity, and thus unresponsive and irresponsible towards the society in which he lived. Contrary to this received interpretation, I argue that Thoreau’s life and work articulates a robust and complex doctrine of intersubjective responsibility and political agency. Although he denies individual responsibility to institutions and other persons, he soberly embraces individual responsibility for one’s role in shaping and maintaining the arrangements of society, including those that compromise the self and lend support to vicious practices and institutions. In respect of his understanding of responsibility, both his strident critique of modern society and his committed individualism appear as political postures especially apt for late modern times. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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