A Relativistic Theory of Phenomenological Constitution: A Self-Referential, Transcendental Approach to Conceptual Pathology.

Dissertation, Universite de Paris X (Paris-Nanterre) (France) (1970)
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A RELATIVISTIC THEORY OF PHENOMENOLOCICAL CONSTITUTION: A SELF-REFERENTIAL, TRANSCENDENTAL APPROACH TO CONCEPTUAL PATHOLOGY. (Vol. I: French; Vol. II: English) Steven James Bartlett Doctoral dissertation director: Paul Ricoeur, Université de Paris Other doctoral committee members: Jean Ladrière and Alphonse de Waehlens, Université Catholique de Louvain Defended publically at the Université Catholique de Louvain, January, 1971. Universite de Paris X (France), 1971. 797pp. The principal objective of the work is to construct an analytically precise methodology which can serve to identify, eliminate, and avoid a certain widespread _conceptual fault_ or _misconstruction_, called a "projective misconstruction" or "projection" by the author. It is argued that this variety of error in our thinking (i) infects a great number of our everyday, scientific, and philosophical concepts, claims, and theories, (ii) has largely been undetected, and (iii), when remedied, leads to a less controversial and more rigorous elucidation of the transcendental preconditions of human knowledge than has traditionally been possible. The dissertation identifies, perhaps for the first time, a _projective_ variety of self-referential inconsistency, and proposes an innovative, self-reflexive approach to transcendental argument in a logical and phenomenological context. The strength of the approach lies, it is claimed, in the fact that a rejection of the approach is possible only on pain of self-referential inconsistency. The argument is developed in the following stages: A general introduction identifies the central theme of the work, defines the scope of applicability of the results reached, and sketches the direction of the studies that follow. The preliminary discussion culminates in a recognition of the need for a _critique of impure reason_. The body of the work is divided into two parts: Section I seeks to develop a methodology, on a purely formal basis, which is, on the one hand, capable of being used to study the transcendental foundations of the special sciences, including its own proper transcendental foundation. On the other hand, the methodology proposed is intended as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool for dealing with _projective_ uses of concepts. The approach initiates an analysis of concepts from a perspective which views _knowledge as coordination_. Section I describes formal structures that possess the status of preconditions in such a coordinative account of knowledge. Special attention is given to the preconditions of _identifying reference_ to logical particulars. The first section attempts, then, to provide a self-referential, transcendental methodology which is essentially revisionary in that it is motivated by a concern for conceptual error-elimination. Phenomenology, considered in its unique capacity as a self-referential, transcendental discipline, is of special relevance to the study. Section II accordingly examines a group of concepts which come into question in connection with the central theme of _phenomenological constitution_. The "_de-projective methodology_" developed in Section I is applied to these concepts that have a foundational importance in transcendental phenomenology. A translation is, in effect, proposed from the language of consciousness to a language in which preconditions of referring are investigated. The result achieved is the elimination of self-defeating, projective concepts from a rigorous, phenomenological study of the constitutive foundations of science. The dissertation was presented in a two volume, double-language format for the convenience of French and English researchers. Each volume contains an analytical index.

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Steven James Bartlett
Willamette University


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