Also called transcendental philosophy.any philosophy based upon the doctrine that the principles of reality are to be discovered by the study of the processes of thought, or a philosophy emphasizing the intuitive and spiritual above the empirical: in the U.S., associated with Emerson.
Origin of transcendentalism
From the German word Transcendentalismus, dating back to 1795–1805. See transcendental, -ism
Related formstran·scen·den·tal·ist, noun, adjective
British Dictionary definitions for transcendentalist
any system of philosophy, esp that of Kant, holding that the key to knowledge of the nature of reality lies in the critical examination of the processes of reason on which depends the nature of experience
any system of philosophy, esp that of Emerson, that emphasizes intuition as a means to knowledge or the importance of the search for the divine
vague philosophical speculation
the state of being transcendental
something, such as thought or language, that is transcendental
A movement in nineteenth-century American literature and thought. It called on people to view the objects in the world as small versions of the whole universe and to trust their individual intuitions. The two most noted American transcendentalists were Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.