Title

Kant With Foucault: On The Dangers Of The Theoretical Reification Of The Subject To Freedom And The Need For A Practical Psychology

Defense Date

4-4-2016

Graduation Date

Spring 1-1-2016

Availability

Immediate Access

Submission Type

dissertation

Degree Name

PhD

Department

Philosophy

School

McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

James Swindal

Committee Member

Fred Evans

Committee Member

Jay Lampert

Keywords

Ascetic Practices, Freedom, Happiness, Immanuel Kant, Michel Foucault, The Subject

Abstract

In this dissertation I consider the question, "Is it possible to think the subject qua subject or must any theoretical attempt to understand the subject necessarily reify it?" To answer this question, I appealed to Immanuel Kant's distinction between theoretical and practical reason, noting that practical reason could think the subject as a free soul rather than as a naturally-determined object. I then divided the sciences of the subject into four general types to determine which science could think the subject qua subject. Three sciences were shown to necessarily reify the subject: empirical psychology, rational psychology, and heteronomous ethics. I then paralleled Kant's insight with Michel Foucault's analyses of the human sciences, showing the concrete consequences of objectification. Using Foucault's work on ethical practice and askesis as a guide, I returned to Kant and explained how practical reason can think the subject qua subject only insofar as it considers the subject as something to be made rather than a theoretical object to know. I then posed the question, “What are the necessary conditions for someone to be a subject of possible experience?� which led into a Kantian-inspired theory of love and intersubjectivity. Finally, I concluded that contemporary psychology is mired in an impasse between happiness and freedom, insofar as therapeutic practice is no longer an ethic. I suggest the need for a practical psychology to solve this impasse.

Format

PDF

Language

English

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