Dissertation Abstract




Against The Monolith:

The Quest For Individuality Within The Evolutionary Matrix


Stacey Elizabeth Ake


Degree:          Ph.D.

Year:             1999

Pages:            285

Institution:      Pennsylvania State University; 0176

Advisor:          Douglas Anderson, Carl Vaught


Source:           DAI, 60, no. 08A (1999): p. 2957


Abstract:  This dissertation is about the evolution of human consciousness, beginning with the biological and continuing through language development up to ethical or moral action.  The neurobiological theories of Gerald Edelman, particularly topobiology and Neural Darwinism, are used to explain the way the mind can be said to physiologically have the capacity for metaphor (association) and thus language. This work is substantiated by the case of Phineas Gage as it is interpreted by Damasio and Damasio.

          The logico-linguistic phenomenology of semiotician C. S. Peirce is used to explain the transition from mere sign use to language use, while the idea of the "Delta Factor" as advanced by novelist/language theorist Walker Percy is used to show how consciousness comes about from and through language use. Then the existential philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard is used to show how this language-inspired consciousness then progresses onto the human capacity to need and communicate with (a) god.

          Finally, the work in ethics and theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor and theologian, is used to show how the capacity for language relates to our moral and ethical responsibilities as humans. In each of these sections, a case from the work of Oliver Sacks is drawn upon to illustrate the point(s) being made.



Descriptor:       PHILOSOPHY



Accession No:     AAG9940796

Provider:        OCLC

Database:         Dissertations