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Title: The first cut : the locus of decision at the limits of subjectivity
Author: Bowditch, Isobel
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2006
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This project examines the concept of decision in philosophical writing, in particular the question of whether subjectivity can be said to constitute a ‘locus’ of decision. The writing of Søren Kierkegaard is the main focus of discussion. Giorgio Agamben, Michel Henry and Jacques Derrida also provide important contributions. Although for Kierkegaard ‘all decisiveness is rooted in subjectivity’, subjective agency takes the form of an active surrendering to an external unknown authority (God). Kierkegaard uses the term ‘leap of faith’ to describe the moment of decision where subjective transformation occurs. For Derrida, any decision requires an undecidable leap beyond all reasoning made in preparation for that decision. He extends a reading of faith beyond the theistic by suggesting that Kierkegaard’s unknowable God could also be another name for the ‘structure of subjectivity.’ Giorgio Agamben’s writing on the concept of human life situated at the threshold of categories (socio-political, philosophical, physiological and so on), helps to further the exploration of subjectivity as the ‘locus’ of decision. Michel Henry’s work on The Essence of Manifestation provides a focus for a discussion on the ‘radical subjectivity’ that Kierkegaard proposes as the fulcrum of decision. The research project as a whole maintains a synergy between these philosophical concerns and the form of their explication. The thesis is made up of both written text and DVD documentation of live works. These instances of practice, whose form and mode of presentation were informed by a specific aspect of the research, are integrated into the thesis to constitute ‘chapters’. The practice can and does function independently in other contexts. However, what is presented in this research document constitutes the outcome of my practice-based PhD project and includes both the ‘theoretical’ and ‘practice’ elements.
Supervisor: Cummings, Neil; Caygill, Howard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy ; Fine Art