Keeping the door open: romantic science and the experience of self

Halliwell, Martin (1996) Keeping the door open: romantic science and the experience of self. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

The thesis positions three modem thinkers working in different areas of the human sciences - William James, Ludwig Binswanger and Oliver Sacks - within a framework of romantic science. Romantic science is a term which is developed explicitly in the work of Sacks and also illuminates the central concerns of James and Binswanger. As such, romantic science provides a useful framework in which to discuss conceptual changes in the medical humanities (a branch of the human sciences directed to patient care) since the late nineteenth century.

The introduction explores romantic science, firstly, as a modem tradition of research and inquiry in the human and natural sciences, beginning with the ferment of intellectual activity in late eighteenth-century Germany, and, secondly, as a genre of writing, which fuses discontinuous discourses in an attempt to compensate for the inadequacies of more conventional modes of scientific understanding.

My central theoretical interest is to trace significant shifts in the terminology of 'the self' in modem manifestations of romantic science. Each of the three thinkers considered in the thesis is both theorist and practitioner (Binswanger was and Sacks is a professional physician and James consulted with private patients), which makes for a peculiar blend of theory directed towards practical ends. Theoretical issues of the self implicate a range of intersubjective problems concerning therapeutic practice. As such, the thesis is also concerned centrally with theories of reading which help to activate the self.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Tallack, D.
King, R.
Uncontrolled Keywords:Medical humanities, William James, Oliver Sacks, Ludwig Binswanger, literature, mass media, performing arts, psychology, religion, philosophy
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of American and Canadian Studies
UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures
ID Code:1717
Deposited By:June Walsh
Deposited On:17 Dec 2010 09:51
Last Modified:17 Dec 2010 09:55

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