Tracking theories of self in the world
Rutherford, Brenda Colleen
This thesis explores assumptions regarding the nature of the Self as it relates to the World. The exploration, a hermeneutic investigation initially shaped by the author’s interest in the role of the unconscious in thinking, develops through the emergence of questions which move from the role of the unconscious to the conceptualization of self and reality and finally to the role of language. To answer these questions, the author examines ontological and epistemological assumptions about the nature of the Self and the World by analyzing various “boundaries,” imposed both (a) as spatial metaphors used to speak of subjective experiences and (b) as notions of locality grounded in the classical physics world view. The assumptions of a locally-grounded, boundaried subject create separations between Self, mind, body and the World, and thus are worthy of exploration. Instead of setting out to provide a definitive answer to pre-set questions, the thesis chronicles the evolution of the author’s questions and answers produced through her examination of various texts on metaphor, philosophy of mind, and consciousness studies. Thus, the thesis is written as the author’s search to understand how it is possible to move beyond locally grounded boundaried subjects towards a form of knowing that considers simultaneously the distinctiveness of Self, and the unity of Self with the whole of what is. The metaphor of tracking emphasizes the importance of possessing attentiveness to the specific while not losing sight of the larger context or whole. Ultimately, the author suggests an attitude of speculative tentativeness constantly on the verge of reconfiguring the whole The thesis is presented in multiple formats including essay, multi-voiced essay, poetry, dialogue, and story. These formats capture the continuous interplay of various faces of knowing presented as forms of perception, unconscious appreciation, and conceptualization. In this way, the overall format of the thesis reflects the content of the thesis where the author portrays her experience of tracking how her living interactions in the world are forms of awareness uninhibited by boundaries. In her conclusion, the author recognizes her experience as a form of direct realism in which human knowing is symbolic of the emergent nature of reality.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteeMcVittie, Janet; Glanfield, Florence; Woodhouse, Howard
Copyright DateDecember 2004