Dissertation Abstract




Writing and Experience:

A Constructive Postmodern View

of Writing and the Writer


Daniel Joseph Royer


Degree:           PH.D.

Year:             1995

Pages:            00224

Institution:      UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS; 0099


Source:           DAI, 56, no. 11A, (1995): 4375


This dissertation explicates the metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead as a way of addressing problems related to the writer-subject and invention in the field of composition study.

          The pragmatic-process tradition in American philosophy--especially the work of C. S. Peirce and Whitehead--is presented as a constructive postmodern alternative to the prevailing postmodern influence on the field. I claim that process philosophy provides the groundwork for a philosophical theory of rhetoric that surmounts the challenges against metaphysics and philosophy stemming from the antimetaphysical doctrines of the prevailing postmodernism. I also claim that problems related to the instability of the subject and the loss of agency encountered by the prevailing postmodernism are overcome when analyzed from the constructive postmodern point of view of Peirce and Whitehead. Furthermore, I show that the dynamic structure of the self Peirce and Whitehead posit is compatible with a phenomenological and metaphysical description of creativity and invention. Finally, by using phenomenology and metaphysics to illumine each other as fundamental modes of inquiry, I demonstrate two ways that the field of composition studies would benefit from the further application of both: (1) I show that Whitehead's metaphysics offers writing professionals a fuller appreciation of phenomenology and phenomenological descriptions of composing experience, and (2) I show that Whitehead's metaphysical theory of experience helps explain recent psychological research on creativity and suggests its own theory of originality and invention compatible with those findings. There is a dual aspect of speculative metaphysics: its aim is the elucidation of immediate experience; its starting point is the analytic observation of components of this experience. From a philosophical perspective, this dissertation aims not at the refinement of the metaphysical theory, but with the second aspect, the elucidation of immediate experience, in this case, the experience of the subject-agent as an inventive writer. From the perspective of composition studies, my theoretical concern is with the nature of the subject and invention and with the practical concerns of teaching writing. This dissertation is an effort to show that Whitehead's metaphysics offers writing professionals a fuller appreciation of the subject, invention, and the phenomenology of composing experience.



Descriptor:       LANGUAGE, GENERAL


Accession No:     AAI9609558

Provider:        OCLC

Database:         Dissertations