Nature's Primal Self: An Ecstatic Naturalist Critique of the Anthropocentrism of Peirce's Pragmaticism and Jaspers' Existentialism

Dissertation, Drew University (2002)
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Abstract

Whether the self is situated in the semiotic community or in the encompassing realm of Existenz , an anthropocentric obsession with the self as the arbiter of knowledge has been continuously privileged. And whether located by modernism or dislocated by postmodernism, the anthropocentric self is still plagued with its own "crisis of subjectivity" . As a foundling within nature, the self is ontologically fissured. Ecstatic naturalism succinctly states: "At the heart of the self is a cleft, a wound that emerges with the first dawn of consciousness and remains with the self until its death." The self is but one frail perspective of and in nature. One way in which the so-called nature's "primal self" can be semiotically and metaphysically explored and examined is through the perspective of ecstatic naturalism, which probes into the ontological divide or difference between nature naturing and nature natured. Because both Peirce and Jaspers affirmed the anthropocentric principle, they ignored the self's metaphysical relations to the ontological difference of nature naturing and nature natured as profoundly and radically articulated by Corrington's ecstatic naturalism. Ecstatic naturalism, as a descriptive and revisionary metaphysics, is well equipped to probe deeply beneath the surface layers of the anthropocentric self theorized by Peirce and Jaspers in order to elicit the self's hidden origin, which is directly and infinitely sustained in its "primal ground," the unconscious of nature

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Nam Nguyen
Asian Institute of Technology

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