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Title:Object, standpoint, and partial truth: Sartre, Heidegger, and Hegel on consciousness, human being, and the absolute
Author(s):Garcia Plazaola, Iker
Director of Research:Schroeder, William R.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Schroeder, William R.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Schacht, Richard L.; Melnick, Arthur; Wengert, Robert G.
Department / Program:Philosophy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Partial Truth
Philosophers and their Predecessors
History of Philosophy
Abstract:This dissertation is an attempt to make sense of why (sometimes) philosophers reject past theories of x (reality, knowledge, morality, etc.) while they acknowledge at the same time that the theories being rejected contain philosophically interesting truth about x (philosophers will typically say things like: “Theory θ gets things wrong about x, but there’s a grain of truth (about x) in it,” “Philosopher Φ is mistaken about x, but he’s on to something,” and so on). The answer I want to explore is partial truth, construed not intensionally, i.e., as truth “in part,” but extensionally, i.e., as truth of a part (of an object). A description of the Statue of Liberty, for instance, that goes: “It’s a tabula ansata, that is, a tablet evoking the law; on it is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, (and so on)” can be both rejected and acknowledged to contain interesting truth; the former, because only a part of the Statue of Liberty is being described, not the Statue of Liberty simpliciter; and the latter because that is a part of the right object (i.e., the Statue of Liberty and not, say, the Eiffel Tower). I suggest that something analogous, in a more complex way, can be seen to (sometimes) happen in philosophy. If this view is correct, I argue, an interesting explanation can be given of why (sometimes) philosophers have rejected past theories of x while acknowledging at the same time that the theories being rejected contain philosophically interesting truth: because those philosophers have believed the theories being rejected were partially true in the sense just sketched. As examples, I propose J. P. Sartre on previous theories of consciousness, M. Heidegger on previous theories of human being, and G. W. F. Hegel on previous theories of the Absolute (God). I conclude by suggesting that my model can be extended to additional figures in the history of Western philosophy, and that my model of partial truth can tell us interesting things about the nature of philosophy as a theoretical enterprise.
Issue Date:2013-05-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Iker Garcia Plazaola
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-24
Date Deposited:2013-05

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