Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Hickman, Larry


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.




This dissertation is only available for download to the SIUC community. Current SIUC affiliates may also access this paper off campus by searching Dissertations & Theses @ Southern Illinois University Carbondale from ProQuest. Others should contact the interlibrary loan department of your local library or contact ProQuest's Dissertation Express service.