Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Auxier, Randall

Abstract

AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF Anthony Cashio, for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Philosophy, presented on February 25, 2011, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: History, Nonviolence, and the Experience of Values MAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. Randall E. Auxier The goal of this dissertation is to address the question: what are values? To carry out this inquiry in a manner which will provide new insights into the complexity, difficulty, and importance of this question, I propose to look to actual historical events, specifically the event known as the Children's Movement that took place in Birmingham, Alabama on March 3, 1963. Coupling this historical approach with an analysis and exploration of the philosophies of nonviolence, specifically the works of Mohandas K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., will allow for answers to age-old axiological problems that are grounded in both pure theory and praxis of shared communal experience. I submit that one of the main lessons learned through this inquiry into the experience of values is that what is truly experienced in the liminal moment of the successful nonviolent protest is what I name a lived value-system. This lived value-system is characterized by the attempt in every moment to bring the culturally learned value-system, the values which we are taught are integral to a society, into resonance with the ideal value-system, the value-system of dogmatic objective certitude. The task of fleshing out these three value-systems in response to an understanding of history as a starting point for philosophical inquiry is the primary task of this dissertation.

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