Date of Award

5-1-2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Hickman, Larry

Abstract

This dissertation focuses on the understanding of self from the perspective of classic American pragmatism, of which I select James, Peirce, Mead, and Dewey as representative figures. The central concept of this study is the transformation of self. It is in this particular aspect, which I take also as a major theme of classic American pragmatism, that I find a possibility of fresh and revivifying approach to the old problem of self-knowledge and the ongoing debate of selfhood. I try to demonstrate that for pragmatists, the question What is a self? cannot be answered without placing it into the context of the process of self-transformation and reconstruction. To achieve this, I examine the notions of self and self-transformation in each thinker, while at the same time trying to weave them into a larger picture. Classic American pragmatists, as I try to illuminate, by their unique takes on experience, others, and community, provide us not only a theoretical approach to keep the old project of self-inquiry vibrating, but also a practical possibility to reconstruct an enterprise of humanity.

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