Journal of Philosophy: A Cross-Disciplinary Inquiry

Volume 8, Issue 20, Fall 2015

Daniel Thomières
Pages 17-33

Emily Dickinson
What Is Called Thinking at the Edge of Chaos?

The article is concerned with the problem of tradition. In what tradition should we place ourselves in order to understand Emily Dickinson a little better? For a number of reasons, empiricism is suggested and redefined, as there are at least two conceptions available (Locke's and Hume's). It is argued that this approach helps us account for the way Dickinson uses language in order to go as far as words will let her go. Can empiricism and Emily Dickinson enable us to see what the self, or identity–for want of better words–are? The poem "It was not Death, for I stood up" is studied in detail.