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Title: Death, freedom and narrative thinking : existential analytics
Author: Yavuz, Mesut Malik
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 9577
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2016
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In this thesis, I focus on the relation between individuals’ awareness of their mortality and freedom from a phenomenological perspective, which is based on making sense of our temporality with the tools of narrative thinking. I argue that this perspective will shed light on the neglected question, of how the awareness of the fact that every individual will die would have a bearing upon an individual’s freedom. In the first chapter, I argue that a linear understanding of time paves the way for the grand narratives, which eclipse the meaning of death and individual freedom. In the second chapter, I argue that Heidegger’s primordial conception of time is the proper way to see death as a phenomenon. This view is based on the distinction, I offer, between conceiving death as an event and an eventuality. I argue that, whereas conceiving death as an event reveals the temporal finitude of one’s existence; conceiving death as an eventuality discloses the finitude of possibilities at one’s disposal. In the fourth chapter, after introducing Berlin’s two conceptions of freedom in the third, I apply the negative conception of freedom in analysing individuals’ freedom with respect to the event of death and the positive conception respectively to the eventuality of death. This, firstly, leads me to discussing whether an immortal life-span would be a freer one, in the light of the suggestion of the negative conception that indexes the range of one’s freedom to the absence of external constraints and, secondly, whether the anxiety caused by the presence of death as an (ever-present) eventuality constrains one’s freedom, in the light of the suggestion of the positive conception that indexes one’s freedom to the presence of mechanisms which enable individuals to exercise control over their life. In the last chapter, I conclude that anxiety caused by the eventuality of death might actually constrain one’s freedom to a larger extent. I demonstrate that narrative thinking would be helpful to alleviate the influence of anxiety into a lesser degree and it might actually transform this potential constraint on a motivating factor for one’s authenticity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available