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Title: The unitary consciousness : toward a solution for the ontological crisis in modern theories of the self
Author: Khatami, Mahmoud
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 1996
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The overall aim of this research project that is done in the field of Phenomenology and Ontogenetic Epistemology, is to investigate the possibility of employing the Illuminative elements for solving the Ontological Crisis in Western epistemology of the self. Descartes, the father of modern western thought, gave through his Meditations a priority to Cogito over Sum, and this historically became a turning point for the movement that crystallised in Kant's Copernican Revolution by which metaphysics was identified with epistemology indicating that epistemology can thereafter be considered without any need for ontology. One of the immediate consequences of detaching epistemology from ontology in this history has in the main been the dismissal of the 'being' of the self in modern theories. In parallel to the existential phenomenology's purport to supply this lack in modern epistemology of the self, this research attempts in its own way to achieve a solution by delving into the Persian Illuminative school and by seeking even to assign a new role to its philosophical system to gain a new vision of the self and consciousness. To remedy, first a reconstruction of the Illuminative Method is introduced. This embodies the claim that although legitimate in itself, epistemology that is based upon the theory of essence cannot be detached from ontology. This method ultimately appeals to a very subtle and special field, the Ontetic Field, under which everything is reduced to Being and is grounded by it. Applying of this method provides an entry to considering the problematic of the self in the ontetic field in which the being of the self is encountered as an epiphany of Being that is immersed in and, at the same time, present to Being. The keen relation of 'Being' and the 'being' of the self is exposed as a performative, existential experience called the unitary consciousness. This moment implies that there is no subject (mind, etc.) in modern subjectivistic sense; the subject is only a self as unitary consciousness. In this context, the Illuminative philosophy is also directed to answering some major problems that arise from modern subjectivism, including our consciousness of private states (esp. senses and body), reflective (ISubject-Objectlive) knowledge and our grasping of the reality of objects. On this basis, some immediate conclusions are set forth, including (i) a refutation of a triple trap which follows from the ontological crisis: skepticism, solipsism and idealism; (ii) the agreement of the Illuminative theory with common sense; and (iii) a suggestion as to how one could read the authors of modern theories of the self in an Illuminative context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Phenomenology; Ontology; Epistemology Philosophy Religion