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Title: Dice-box of chance : the problem of causality in surrealism, science and the occult
Author: Perks, Simone K.
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2006
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The aim of this thesis is to explore the intellectual discourse centred on chance and causality focusing on the first half of the twentieth century. The thesis will examine how philosophical ideas attendant on the notions of chance and causality trace a path through surrealist discourse. The thesis will analyse surrealism in relation to notions regarded as the handmaidens of chance: spontaneity, flux, the possible and the arbitrary, as well as explore philosophical issues arising from the semantic field of causation: necessity, determinism, indeterminism, probability, destiny and free will. A major objective of this thesis is to bring the 'two cultures' of art and science (including pseudo-science) under one study. Surrealism therefore, will be analysed via the prism of quantum theory, probability theory, psychoanalysis, dynamic psychiatry, the divinatory arts and metapsychology. The thesis will draw on primary statements relating to chance and causality with special attention to sources either owned or referenced by the surrealists. These statements will provide a springboard from which to select visual documents from surrealism that are in dialogue with the prevailing discourse. One of the key points highlighted by this thesis is that surrealism refuses to give a definitive definition to the nature or laws of either chance or necessity, as to do so would be to turn these notions into absolutes. Instead, surrealism explored the dialectics of chance and necessity. I argue that the ambiguity of chance and necessity evident in surrealism is related to the surrealists' aim to surmount irreconcilable antinomies, an objective which is facilitated by their faith in the laws of dialectical materialism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available