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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A methodological critique of naturalism: McDowell, Sartre and the space of reasons
by Lisle, Brian, Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago, 2008, 252; 3340175
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation argues for the claim that John McDowell's philosophical naturalism, as it is put forth in his somewhat controversial text, Mind and World (1994), employs a tacit yet unjustified concept of “the experiencing subject.”1 Our thesis is that by incorporating aspects of J. P. Sartre's phenomenological method, as found primarily in The Transcendence of the Ego and Being and Nothingness, McDowell's tacit notion of the “experiencing subject” can be more clearly delineated. By incorporating Sartre's particular brand of phenomenological methodology, we argue, the type of subjectivity McDowell implicitly refers to can be made explicit; and thereby McDowell's own argumentative strategy may be bolstered through such incorporation. However, our proposed incorporation of Sartre's phenomenological method threatens to push McDowell's argument into territory he calls “constructive” philosophy, which he vigorously strives to avoid.2 Thus our study investigates the implications of incorporating this kind of phenomenological methodology into McDowell's version of philosophical naturalism. We claim that since his argumentative strategy tacitly employs a constructive, theoretical concept of “the experiencing subject,” then our proposed incorporation of Sartre's method—including his theory of pre-reflective consciousness—can help to clarify what is already being used as a constructive, theoretical concept.

1 McDowell, John. Mind and World, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 1994, p. 39. 2 Ibid., xxiii.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cutrolfello, Andrew
School: Loyola University Chicago
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 69/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy
Keywords: Experiencing subject, McDowell, John, Naturalism, Phenomenology, Sartre, Jean-Paul
Publication Number: 3340175
ISBN: 978-0-549-94391-4
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