• Heidegger's tragic Greeks : the relation between presence and deinon

      MacDonald, John.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2002-07-14)
      Martin Heidegger's interpretation of the ancients was born out of something like a crisis in the interpretation of the Greeks, which can be characterized as nothing other than the realization of the idea that the Greek philosophers put a serious question mark over existence. This idea, which had its germination in Prussia with Jakob Burckhart and his teacher, but first came to be seriously cultivated in the Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, was the first in depth investigation into whether the Greeks, on the one hand, questioned existence or, on the other hand, put a question mark over existence. To question existence is rather innocuous, since it amounts to little more, in the end, than a child looking up at the stars and asking what it all means. To put a question mark over existence, however, is another business entirely. For the Greeks, as the life work of Martin Heidegger amply demonstrates, the nature of Greek thinking and the objects towards which it is directed follows so absolutely from the tragic view of the human person that, in a certain sense, philosophy is Greek and could only have developed in Greece. Perhaps stating it a little less categorically, philosophy could have developed elsewhere at least to the extent that something like they way the Greeks understood life was at the forefront: presence, in other words. This thesis deals with the problem ofHeidegger's relation to the Greeks, specifically in terms of his understanding of the Greeks and presence. It is the position of this dissertation that the Greek notion of presence is, as Heidegger understands it, the homeliness of the hearth that radiates through all the things that humans concern themselves with. This is thought by Heidegger, as the Greeks did, specifically in contrast with the uncanninesslunhomeliness of the hqrnan apart from his or her concern with things. Therefore, the thesis is an attempt at exposing the relation between presence and the unhomely by situating it withing Greek existence and the meaning of the Greek Philosopher. In order to support this position, the thesis has been divided into five parts. The first two chapters deal with Heidegger's explanation of the relation between Greek notion of physics (Phusis), metaphysics (specifically in relation to an analysis of time and motion in Greek thought), and what Heidegger calls the fundamental attunement of Dasein (boredom). More exactly, it deals with these issues only so far as they allow us to bring out something like the notion of 'presence' in relation to things and homelessness or restlessness in relation to the human being. The rationale for these two chapters in relation to the central problem of the paper is that in Heidegger's elucidation of physics and metaphysics, he conducts his analysis in such a way that he explicitly uncovers that dimension of human existence that he calls the fundamental attunement of Dasein. This fundamental attunement is, in tum, similar to what the Greeks understood as the deinon, the uncanninesslunhomeliness of the human. The third and fourth chapters take as their explicit themes the problem of the Greek understanding of the assertion and the ways in which the person can comport himlherself toward things, two issues which are not separable. The rationale for these two chapters in relation to the central theme of the paper is that Heidegger's analysis of these two areas in Greek thought brings out precisely why the philosopher and the philosophical way of life is the highest mode of existence for the Greeks and how this is thought specifically in tenns of the uncanniness of humans. The final cijapter gives a complete elucidation of presence as the homeliness of the hearth and shows specifically how this is thought of in contradistinction to the uncanny/unhomely for the Greeks. 1I1 This last chapter also explains Martin Heidegger's reaction to the Greek's interpretation of the highest mode of existence, and what he posited as a counter-thought. The essay as a whole is an attempt to fully concertize an important dimension of Heidegger' s understanding of the Greeks, that is, the relation between presence and the deinon or Greek notion ofunhomely, which, to my la)owledge, has not been offered anywhere in commentaries on Heidegger.
    • Descartes' Meditations : can the idea of God be derived from a meditation on the will and substance?

      Yurkewich-Liddell, KellyAnn.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2004-07-14)
    • Buddhism and the earth : environmental thought in early Buddhist philosophy

      Sieg, Tara E.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2004-07-14)
      Introduction Fundamental to the philosophy of Buddhism, is the insight that there is "unsatisfactohness" (dukkha) in the world and that it can be eliminated through the practice of the Noble Eight Fold Path. Buddhism also maintains that the world as we experience and entities that exist are bereft of any substantiality. Instead existence is manifest through dependent origination. All things are conditional; nothing is permanent. However, inherent in this dependent existence is the interconnectedness of all beings and their subjection to the cosmic law of karma. Part of cultivating the Eight Fold path includes a deep compassion for all other living things, 'trapped' within this cycle of dependent origination. This compassion or empathy (karuna) is crucial to the Buddhist path to enlightenment. It is this emphasis on karuna that shows itself in Mahayana Buddhism with respect to the theory of the boddhisatva (or Buddha-to-be) since the boddhisatva willingly postpones his/her own enlightenment to help others on the same path. One of the ramifications of the theory of dependent origination is that there is no anthropocentric bias placed on humans over the natural world. Paradoxically the doctrine of non-self becomes an ontology within Buddhism, culminating in the Mayahana realization that a common boundary exists between samsara and nirvana. Essential to this ontology is the life of dharma or a moral life. Ethics is not separated from ontology. As my thesis will show, this basic outlook of Buddhism has implications toward our understanding of the Buddhist world-view with respect to the current human predicament concerning the environment. While humans are the only ones who can 4 attain "Buddhahood", it is because of our ability to understand what it means to follow the Eight fold path and act accordingly. Because of the interconnectedness of all entities {dharmas), there is an ontological necessity to eliminate suffering and 'save the earth' because if we allow the earth to suffer, we ALL suffer. This can be understood as an ethical outlook which can be applied to our interaction with and treatment of the natural environment or environment in the broadest sense, not just trees plants rocks etc. It is an approach to samsara and all within it. It has been argued that there is no ontology in Buddhism due to its doctrine of "non-self". However, it is a goal of this thesis to argue that there does exist an original ontology in Buddhism; that according to it, the nature of Being is essentially neither "Being nor non-being nor not non-being" as illustrated by Nagarjuna. Within this ontology is engrained an ethic or 'right path' (samma marga) that is fundamental to our being and this includes a compassionate relationship to our environment. In this dissertation I endeavour to trace the implications that the Buddhist worldview has for the environmental issues that assail us in our age of technology. I will explore questions such as: can the Buddhist way of thinking help us comprehend and possibly resolve the environmental problems of our day and age? Are there any current environmental theories which are comparable to or share common ground with the classical Buddhist doctrines? I will elucidate some fundamental doctrines of early Buddhism from an environmental perspective as well as identify some comparable modern environmental theories such as deep ecology and general systems theory, that seem to share in the wisdom of classical Buddhism and have much to gain from a deeper appreciation of Buddhism.
    • Philosophy of death in Vedanta and Plotinus

      Mandoki, Monika Judith.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2005-05-21)
    • Heidegger on the way of thinking

      Moi, Shawn.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2005-05-21)
      This thesis attempts to clarify what Heidegger meant by the term "thinking" (Denken), where this ^'meanr is submitted in the double sense: firstly, in the sense of what Heidegger intended by the use and exposition of this term that we find in his lecture series. Was Heisst Denken?, where Heidegger quickly makes it clear that this intention is to actually bring thinking on the way, viz. making provision for the leap into thinking, and where this intention was carried out with the employment of a specific guiding phrase. In the second sense, it is an attempt at clarifying the meaning of the term. But this is not to say that we are here simply out to see how Heidegger defines the word '*thinking." It is in fact precisely within such definitive discourse that thought dies out. It is not merely be a case of defining a word, because this enterprise would be just as shallow as much as it would be unworkable. It is for this reason that Heidegger decided to establish for himself the task, not merely of explaining thinking as something to be beheld at a distance, but rather of bringing thinking underway by means of his lecture, proclaiming that, "Only the leap into the river tells us what is swimming. The question 'What is called thinking?' can never be answered by proposing a definition of the concept thinking, and then diligently explaining what is contained in that definition." (WCT, 21) This being Heidegger's intention, in order to understand Heidegger in his treatment of the term thinking, it is clear that we must also undergo an experience with thinking. It is in this spirit that the present work was written so as to collaborate the two senses of what Heidegger meant by "thinking."
    • An examination of existential faith in the writtings of Søren Kierkegaard

      Tebbutt, Suzanne K.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2005-05-21)
      This thesis takes seriously the proposition that existentialism is a lived philosophy. While Descartes' proof for the existence of God initially sparked my interest in philosophy, the insights of existentialism have allowed me to appropriate philosophy as a way of life. I apply the insights of Kierkegaard's writings to my spiritual and philosophy development. Philosophy is personal, and Kierkegaard's writings deal with the development of the person in his aesthetic, ethical and religious dimensions. Philosophy is a struggle, and this thesis, reveals the existential struggle of the individual in despair. The thesis argues that authentic faith actually entails faith. The existential believer has this faith whereas the religious believer does not. The subjectively reflective existential believer recognizes that a leap of faith is needed; anything else, is just historical, speculative knowledge. The existential believer or, the Knight of Faith, realizes that a leap of faith is needed to become open in inwardness to receive the condition to understand the paradoxes that faith presents. I will present Kierkegaard's "Analogy of a House" which is in essence, the backbone of his philosophy. I will discuss the challenge of moving from one floor to the next. More specifically, I will discuss the anxiety that is felt in the very moment of the transition from the first floor to the second floor. I will outline eight paradoxes that must me resolved in order for the individual to continue on his journey to the top floor of the house. I will argue that Kierkegaard's example of Abraham as a Knight of Faith is incorrect, that Abraham was in fact not a Knight of Faith. I will also argue that we should find our own exemplars in our own lives by looking for Knight of Faith traits in people we know and then trying to emulate those people. I will also discuss Unamuno's "paradoxical faith" and argue that this kind of faith is a strong alternative to those who find that Kierkegaard's existential faith is not a possibility.
    • Desire and the paths of recognation [sic] in Hegel's intersubjectivity

      Benson, Michael Thomas.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2005-05-21)
      This thesis poses two fundamental issues regarding Hegel's philosophy of intersubjectivity. Firstly, it examines Kojeve's problematic interpretation of Hegelian intersubjectivity as being solely rooted in the dialectic of lordship and bondage. It is my contention that Kojeve conflates the concepts of recognition {Anerkennung) with that of desire (Begierde), thereby reducing Hegel's philosophy of intersubjectivity to a violent reduction of the other to the same. This is so despite the plenary of examples Hegel uses to define intersubjectivity as the mutual (reciprocal) recognition between the self and the other. Secondly, it examines Hegel's use of Sophocles' Antigone to demonstrate the notion of the individual par excellence. I contend that Hegel's use of Antigone opens a new methodological framework through which to view his philosophy of intersubjectivity. It is Antigone that demonstrates the upheaval of an economy of exchange between the self and the other, whereby the alterity of the other transcends the self Ultimately, Hegel's philosophy of intersubjectivity must be reexamined, not only to dismiss Kojeve's problematic interpretation, but also to pose the possibility that Hegel's philosophy of intersubjectivity can viably account for a philosophy of the other that has a voice in contemporary philosophical debate.
    • A phenomenological account of Merleau-Ponty's notion of style : from embodiment to flesh

      Landry, Christinia Ryan.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2005-05-21)
      Abstract This thesis is an investigation of Maurice Merleau-Ponty's notion of style via the individual, artwork, and the world. It aims to show that subject-object, self-other, and perceiver-perceived are not contrary, but are reverses of one another each requiring the other for meaningful experience. In experience, these cognitive contraries are engaged in relationships of communication and communion that render styles of interaction by which we have/are a world. A phenomenological investigation of Merleau-Ponty's notion of style via existential meaningfulness, corporeal and worldly understanding, stylistic nuances (with respect to the individual, the artwork, and the world), and the existential temporal dynamic provide the foundation for understanding our primordial connection with the world. This phenomenological unpacking follows Merleau-Ponty's thought from Phenomenology of Perception to "Cezanne's Doubt" and "Eye and Mind" through The Visible and the Invisible.
    • On affirmation and becoming : a Deleuzian reading of Nietzsche's critique of nihilism

      Bolaños, Paolo A.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2005-05-21)
      The main thrust of this thesis is the re-exploration of Friedrich Nietzsche's "critique of nihilism" through the lenses of Gilles Deleuze. A Deleuzian reading of Nietzsche is motivated by a post-deconstrnctive style of interpretation, inasmuch as Deleuze goes beyond, or in between, henneneutics and deconstrnction. Deleuze's post-deconstrnctive reading of Nietzsche is, however, only secondary to the main aim of this thesis. The primary thrust of this study is the critique of a way of thinking characterized by Nietzsche as nihilistic. Therefore, it should be noted that this study is not about Deleuze's reading per se; rather, it is an appraisal of Nietzsche's "critique of nihilism" using Deleuze's experimental reading. We will accrue Nietzsche's critique and Deleuze's post-deconstrnctive reading in order to appraise Nietzsche's critique itself. Insofar as we have underscored Deleuze's purported experimentation of Nietzschean themes, this study is also an experiment in itself. Through this experimentation, we will find out whether it is possible to partly gloss Nietzsche's critique of nihilism through Deleuzian phraseology. Far from presenting a mere exposition of Nietzsche's text, we are, rather, re-reading, that is, re-evaluating Nietzsche's critique of nihilism through Deleuze's experimentation. This is our way of thinking with Nietzsche. Nihilism is the central problem upon which Nietzsche's philosophical musings are directed; he deems nihilism as a cultural experience and, as such, a phenomenon to be reckoned with. In our reconstruction of Nietzsche's critique of nihilism, we locate two related elements which constitute the structure of the prescription of a cure, Le., the ethics of affirmation and the ontology of becoming. Appraising Nietzsche's ethics and ontology amounts to clarifying what Deleuze thinks as the movement from the "dogmatic image of thought" to the "new image of thought." Through this new image of thought, Deleuze makes sense of a Nietzschean counterculture which is a perspective that resists traditional or representational metaphysics. Deleuze takes the reversal of Platonism or the transmutation of values to be the point of departure. We have to, according to Deleuze, abandon our old image of the world in order to free ourselves from the obscurantism of foundationalist or essentialist thinking. It is only through the transmutation of values that we can make sense of Nietzsche's ethics of affirmation and ontology of becoming. We have to think of Nietzsche's ethics as an "ethics" and not a moral philosophy, and we have to think of his ontology as 1/ ontology" and not as metaphysics. Through Deleuze, we are able to avoid reading Nietzsche as a moral philosopher and metaphysician. Rather, we are able to read Nietzsche as one espousing an ethical imperative through the thought of the eternal return and one advocating a theory of existence based on an immanent, as opposed to transcendent, image of the world.
    • Kierkegaardian intersubjectivity and the question of ethics and responsibility

      Krumrei, Kevin.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2005-05-21)
      Kierkegaardian Intersubjectivity and the Question of Ethics and Responsibility By Kevin Krumrei. Kierkegaard's contributions to philosophy are generally admitted and recognized as valuable in the history of Western philosophy, both as one of the great anti-Hegelians, as the founder (arguably) of existentialism, and as a religious thinker. However valid this may be, there is similarly a generally admitted critique of Kierkegaard in the Western tradition, that Kierkegaard's philosophy of the development of the self leads the individual into an isolated encounter with God, to the abandonment of the social context. In other words, a Kierkegaardian theory of intersubjectivity is a contradiction in terms. This is voiced eloquently by Emmanuel Levinas, among others. However, Levinas' own intersubjective ethics bears a striking resemblance to Kierkegaard's, with respect to the description and formulation of the basic problem for ethics: the problem of aesthetic egoism. Further, both Kierkegaard and Levinas follow similar paths in responding to the problem, from Kierkegaard's reduplication in Works of Love, to Levinas' notion of substitution in Otherwise than Being. In this comparison, it becomes evident that Levinas' reading of Kierkegaard is mistaken, for Kierkegaard's intersubjective ethics postulates, in fact, the inseparability and necessity of the self s responsible relation to others in the self s relation to God, found in the command, "you shall love your neighbour as yourself."
    • An examination of Simone de Beauvoir's theme of situated embodiment

      Penney, Megan.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2005-07-14)
      Abstract This thesis is an examination of Simone de Beauvoir's theme of situated embodiment. The aim of the thesis is to demonstrate that the theme of situated embodiment was a concern of Beauvoir's since early childhood and that it was this interest which was the impetus for Beauvoir's later philosophical notion of authentic embodiment. Through the examination of Beauvoir's autobiographies it becomes evident that Beauvoir consistently demonstrates an early awareness that one's situation will be expressed through one's body. This idea is also present in Beauvoir's novels. In the novels it is shown that many of the characters are struggling within authentic embodiment. Beauvoir also fictionalizes many of her own experiences in the novels. These novels are used as concrete examples of Beauvoir's philosophy. Through Beauvoir's philosophical works it becomes evident that authentic embodiment will include the notions of freedom, ambiguity, and reciprocity. All are crucial when trying to live an authentic existence. Beauvoir's philosophy also focuses on marginalized groups who are in the position ofthe Other. One of the marginalized groups studied are women, and this thesis investigates Beauvoir's understanding of why woman is in the position of the Other. This thesis also addresses two feminist criticisms of Beauvoir's study on women. These criticisms are argued against in an effort to defend the notion ofauthentic situated embodiment as delineated in the first three chapters. Overall it is established that Beauvoir's early experiences allowed for her to form the philosophical idea of situated embodiment that lies at the core of her philosophy.
    • Memory mixed with desire : a preliminary study of philosophy and literature in the works of Friedrich Nietzsche and Milan Kundera

      Spinelli, Robert.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2006-05-19)
      Memory Mixed with Desire: A preliminary study of Philosophy and Literature in the works of Friedrich Nietzsche and Milan Kundera Robert Spinelli Brock University, Department of Philosophy This thesis studies intertextuality in the works of Friedrich Nietzsche and Milan Kundera through the primary themes of memory and forgetting. The thesis starts with two introductory chapters that delineate memory according to Nietzsche and Kundera respectively. From here, I move into a discussion of Nietzsche's Ubermensch as an example of the type of forgetting that Nietzsche sees as a cure for the overabundance of memory that has led to Christian morality. Next, I explore the Kunderan concept of kitsch as the polar opposite of what Nietzsche has sought in his philosophy, finishing the chapter by tying the two thinkers together in a Kunderan critique of Nietzsche. The thesis ends with a chapter devoted to the Eternal Return beginning with an exegesis of Nietzsche's idea and ending with a similar exegesis of Kundera's treatment of this thought. What I suggest in this chapter is that the Eternal Return might itself be a form of kitsch even in its attempt to revalue existence.
    • Utilitarianism and Buddist ethics: a comparative approach to the ethics of animal research

      Watt, Sandra F.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2006-11-04)
      This thesis explores the comparison utilitarianism and Buddhist ethics as they can be applied to animal research. It begins by examining some of the general discussions surrounding the use of animals in research. The historical views on the moral status of animals, the debate surrounding their use in animals, as well as the current 3R paradigm and its application in Canadian research are explored. The thesis then moves on to expound the moral system of utilitarianism as put forth by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, as well as contemporary additions to the system. It also looks at the basics of Buddhist ethics well distinguishing the Mahayana from the Therevada. Three case studies in animal research are used to explore how both systems can be applied to animal research. It then offers a comparison as to how both ethical systems function within the field of animal research and explores the implications in their application on its practice.
    • Gadamer's transformation of hermeneutics : from Dilthey to Heidegger

      Ford, Martin.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2007-05-21)
      Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to show how Gadamer's hermeneutics synthesizes the insights of both Heidegger and Dilthey in order to introduce a new hermeneutics. Gadamer's hermeneutics is based not only on the priority of ontology, as Heidegger insists, and neither is it only a product of life which can be objectively understood through study and rigorous method, as Dilthey suggests. For Gadamer, hermeneutics is the bringing together of ontology in terms of history. By this synthesis Gadamer not only places himself within the context of a Lebensphilosophie, but also shows that it is within language that Being can be disclosed according to a lived context. Throughout this paper the philosophies ofDilthey and Heidegger are explicated within a historical context as to bring out how, and why, Gadamer sees the need to surpass these philosophies. Through Gadamer's philosophy of play and the game, language, the dialogical model, application, and the fusion of horizons we can see how Gadamer's critique and questioning of these two philosophy leads to his new hermeneutics. Special attention is paid to the role in which these two contrasting philosophies were used to complement each other in the product of Gadamer' s philosophical hermeneutics as it is presented in his major work Truth andMethod. For Gadamer, the task of understanding is never complete. Therefore, his hermeneutics remains a dynamic structure with which we can always question the past and our traditions. This paper seeks to show his philosophical movements within these questions
    • The physiology of inscription : Foucault's genealogy as curative science

      Johnston, Sean.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2007-05-21)
      In ''Nietzsche, Genealogy, History," Foucault suggests that genealogy is a sort of "curative science." The genealogist must be a physiologist and a pathologist as well as an historian, for his task is to decipher the marks that power relations and historical events leave on the subjugated body; "he must be able to diagnose the illnesses of the body, its conditions of weakness and strength, its breakdowns and resistances, to be in a position to judge philosophical discourse." But this claim seems to be incongruent with another major task of genealogy. After all, genealogy is supposed to show us that the things we take to be absolute are in fact discontinuous and historically situated: "Nothing in man-not even his body-is sufficiently stable to serve as the basis for self-recognition or for understanding other men." If this is true, then the subjugated body can never be restored to a healthy state because it has no essential or original nature. There are no universal standards by which we can even distinguish between healthy and unhealthy bodies. So in what sense is genealogy to be a "curative science"? In my thesis, I try to elucidate the complex relationship between genealogy and the body. I argue that genealogy can be a curative science even while it "multiplies our body and sets it against itself." Ifwe place a special emphasis on the role that transgression plays in Foucault's genealogical works, then the healthy body is precisely the body that resists universal standards and classifications. If genealogy is to be a curative science, then it must restore to the subjugated body an "identity" that transgresses its own limits and that constitutes itself, paradoxically, in the very effacement of identity. In the first chapter of my thesis, I examine the body's role as "surface of the inscription of events." Power relations inscribe on and around the body an identity or subjectivity that appears to be unified and universal, but which is in fact disparate and historically situated. The "subjected" body is the sick and pathologically weak body. In Chapters 2 and 3, I describe how it is possible for the unhealthy body to become healthy by resisting the subjectivity that has been inscribed upon it. Chapter 4 explains how Foucault's later works fit into this characterization of genealogy
    • The seasons of Zarathustra and their correspondence to the metamorphoses of the spirit

      Puszczalowski, Philip.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2007-05-21)
      Nietzsche employed metaphors frequently throughout his works. This is especially true in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Although this is often aesthetically pleasing, it can be very difficult for the reader to understand the nuances and interconnections with the various metaphors. This is generally considered one of the main drawbacks of Thus Spoke Zarathustra. While it is beautifully written in a style that is incomparable today, much of what it is attempting to communicate is lost on the reader. This thesis explores the connection between the metamorphoses of the spirit and the seasons in Thus'Spoke Zarathustra, with the camel spirit corresponding to autumn, the lion spirit with winter, the child spirit with spring, and finally the Overman with summer. Although the Overman is not included among the three metamorphoses of the spirit, it will be argued that the Overman is a separate metamorphosis and must not be conflated with the child spirit despite their similarities. While Thus Spoke Zarathustra will be the primary text used, Nietzsche's other works will be employed to demonstrate that this connection between the metamorphoses of the spirit and the seasons runs through much of his thought. By demonstrating how the seasons are used in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, a deeper understanding of the work will be revealed. Further, this thesis will demonstrate that it is an intentional connection, and not merely coincidental or something that has been constructed and imposed upon the work. Bringing this correspondence between the metamorphoses of the spirit and the seasons to light will result in the need to rethink particular notions of Nietzsche's philosophy. The most apparent involves the Overman and the process of overcoming. Although the Overman has often been viewed as "the end" in the cycle of metamorphoses, it will be argued that this is not the case. The typical interpretation of the metamorphoses of the spirit regard it as a linear progression; however, it will be shown that the metamorphoses of the spirit is cyclical with the camel, lion, and child spirits endlessly repeating, much like the seasons.
    • (Re)Thinking bodies : Deleuze and Guattari's becoming- woman

      Dawson, Nicole.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2008-02-16)
      Abstract (Re)thinking Bodies: Deleuze and Guattari 's becoming-woman seeks to explore the notion of becoming-woman, as put forth by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in their collaborative 1982 text, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, and as received by such prominent feminist theorists as Rosi Braidotti and Elizabeth Grosz. Arguing that the fairly decisive repudiation of this concept by some feminist theorists has been based on a critical misunderstanding, this project endeavors to clarify becomingwoman by exploring various conceptions of the body put forth by Baruch de Spinoza, Friedrich Nietzsche and Simone de Beauvoir. These conceptions of the body are indispensible to an appreciation of Deleuze and Guattari's notion of a body lived on both an immanent and transcendent plane, which, in turn, is indispensable to an appreciation of the concept of becoming (and, in particular, the concept of becoming-woman) as intended by Deleuze and Guattari.
    • From inference to affordance : the problem of visual depth-perception in the optical writings of Descartes, Berkeley, and Gibson

      Braund, Michael J.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2008-05-21)
      This thesis explores the debate and issues regarding the status of visual ;,iferellces in the optical writings of Rene Descartes, George Berkeley and James 1. Gibson. It gathers arguments from across their works and synthesizes an account of visual depthperception that accurately reflects the larger, metaphysical implications of their philosophical theories. Chapters 1 and 2 address the Cartesian and Berkelean theories of depth-perception, respectively. For Descartes and Berkeley the debate can be put in the following way: How is it possible that we experience objects as appearing outside of us, at various distances, if objects appear inside of us, in the representations of the individual's mind? Thus, the Descartes-Berkeley component of the debate takes place exclusively within a representationalist setting. Representational theories of depthperception are rooted in the scientific discovery that objects project a merely twodimensional patchwork of forms on the retina. I call this the "flat image" problem. This poses the problem of depth in terms of a difference between two- and three-dimensional orders (i.e., a gap to be bridged by one inferential procedure or another). Chapter 3 addresses Gibson's ecological response to the debate. Gibson argues that the perceiver cannot be flattened out into a passive, two-dimensional sensory surface. Perception is possible precisely because the body and the environment already have depth. Accordingly, the problem cannot be reduced to a gap between two- and threedimensional givens, a gap crossed with a projective geometry. The crucial difference is not one of a dimensional degree. Chapter 3 explores this theme and attempts to excavate the empirical and philosophical suppositions that lead Descartes and Berkeley to their respective theories of indirect perception. Gibson argues that the notion of visual inference, which is necessary to substantiate representational theories of indirect perception, is highly problematic. To elucidate this point, the thesis steps into the representationalist tradition, in order to show that problems that arise within it demand a tum toward Gibson's information-based doctrine of ecological specificity (which is to say, the theory of direct perception). Chapter 3 concludes with a careful examination of Gibsonian affordallces as the sole objects of direct perceptual experience. The final section provides an account of affordances that locates the moving, perceiving body at the heart of the experience of depth; an experience which emerges in the dynamical structures that cross the body and the world.
    • An analysis of Ibn al-'Arabi's al-Insan al-Kamil, the Perfect Individual, with a brief comparison to the thought of Sir Muhammad Iqbal

      Zwanzig, Rebekah.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2008-05-21)
      This thesis analyzes four philosophical questions surrounding Ibn al-'Arabi's concept of the al-iman al-kamil, the Perfect Individual. The Introduction provides a definition of Sufism, and it situates Ibn al-'Arabi's thought within the broader context of the philosophy of perfection. Chapter One discusses the transformative knowledge of the Perfect Individual. It analyzes the relationship between reason, revelation, and intuition, and the different roles they play within Islam, Islamic philosophy, and Sufism. Chapter Two discusses the ontological and metaphysical importance of the Perfect Individual, exploring the importance of perfection within existence by looking at the relationship the Perfect Individual has with God and the world, the eternal and non-eternal. In Chapter Three the physical manifestations of the Perfect Individual and their relationship to the Prophet Muhammad are analyzed. It explores the Perfect Individual's roles as Prophet, Saint, and Seal. The final chapter compares Ibn al-'Arabi's Perfect Individual to Sir Muhammad Iqbal's in order to analyze the different ways perfect action can be conceptualized. It analyzes the relationship between freedom and action.
    • This infinite, unanimous dissonance : a study in mathematical existentialism through the work of Jean-Paul Sartre and Alain Badiou

      Fraser, Zachary Luke.; Department of Philosophy (Brock University, 2008-05-21)
      This thesis seeks to elucidate a motif common to the work both of Jean-Paul Sartre and Alain Badiou (with special attention being given to Being and Nothingness and Being and Event respectively): the thesis that the subject 's existence precedes and determines its essence. To this end, the author aims to explicate the structural invariances, common to both philosophies, that allow this thesis to take shape. Their explication requires the construction of an overarching conceptual framework within which it may be possible to embed both the phenomenological ontology elaborated in Being and Event and the mathematical ontology outlined in Being and Event. Within this framework, whose axial concept is that of multiplicity, the precedence of essence by existence becomes intelligible in terms of a priority of extensional over intensional determination. A series of familiar existentialist concepts are reconstructed on this basis, such as lack and value, and these are set to work in the task of fleshing out the more or less skeletal theory of the subject presented in Being and Event.