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Ralph Waldo Emerson

1803 - 1882

Transcendentalist, poet, and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and spent much of his adult life in nearby Concord. Emerson epitomized transcendental philosophy with his belief that we should trust our own intuition, rather than use empirical, scientific methodology, when examining reality and our relationships with nature and God. This does not mean that Emerson was anti-science, however. He gave one of the earliest lectures at the Boston Society of Natural History and counted many friends among its members, including his brother-in-law. geologist Charles Jackson, the poet, essayist, and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes, and the zoologist-geologist Louis Agassiz.