Browsing Masters Theses by Subjects
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A Different Conversion by a Different C.S. Lewis: An Analysis of Surprised By JoyC.S. Lewis is perhaps as well known for his life story as his literary accomplishments. Central to that narrative is his shocking conversion from atheism to Christianity. Despite this Surprised by Joy, Lewis's primary work on the subject, has not been the centre of a focused study. This thesis reveals that, prior to writing Surprised by Joy, Lewis developed a growing appreciation for how experiences and story factored in religious belief. Rather than focusing on arguments, Surprised by Joy tells the story of how Lewis came to terms with his fundamental experiences of the world. Tension between these experiences and his worldview drove Lewis onward until they were reconciled by his acceptance of The True Myth. Using Vollenhoven's Reformed Philosophy, I show the implications of Surprised by Joy: that the stories we feel ourselves to be living in circumscribe our experiences and knowledge, and that conversion involves coming to inhabit the biblical story.
The I's Relationship to the other as Transcendent, Foundational, and Ethical in Levinas' Totality and InfinityAn interpretation and application of the key insights about the I and the other from Emmanuel Levinas' book: Totality and Infinity. The first chapter interprets Levinas' terminology, specifically his notions of the I and the other, and shows how he describes human experience. The second chapter explores how the other is transcendent to the I as a site of ongoing possibility for the significance of experience, how the other founds the I during human development in the person of the caregiver, and how the I's basic relationship to the other has an ethical character. The third chapter applies these insights to show how they can lead to a more authentic living out of interpersonal relationships and to better ways of thinking about human living in social and political contexts.
Speaking Bodies: Communication and Freedom in Fichte and Merleau-PontyDrawing on the ideas of J.G. Fichte and M. Merleau-Ponty, I argue that experience and freedom are intersubjective, linguistic, and bodily. In the first chapter, I take up Fichte's three "fundamental principles" from the Science of Knowledge alongside his ideas of embodiment and intersubjectivity from the Foundations of Natural Right to show that all experience is an indefinite mixture of self and not-self, and, therefore, that both the experiences of self-consciousness and its freedom must also be accomplished with reference to the not-self, and particularly others. The second chapter is an examination of Merleau-Ponty's account of expression in his Phenomenology of Perception. The key insight I pursue here is that the medium of expression, which makes possible all significance, is bodily and intersubjective, and that any expressive act is therefore both self-opaque and soliciting cooperation. In the end, I turn to how this cooperation, i.e. freedom, should be enacted.