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Title:Learning From the Lives of Others: A Social Analysis of Human Exemplarity and Imitation
Author(s):Warnick, Bryan Ray
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Burbules, Nicholas C.
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Educational Psychology
Abstract:The first topic relates to how something becomes an example of something else. Possession of a trait alone is usually not sufficient to turn something into an example of the trait; rather, exemplification depends on processes of "cultural convention" and "differentiation." Exemplarity is rooted in the concrete practices of particular communities and is dependent on structures of similarity and difference within a social context. The second topic deals with how something, once it becomes an example, calls out for human imitation. Using William James and current research in the cognitive sciences, I argue that an imitative response may often occur because of a certain relationship between the socially dependent narrative self and the already impulsive ideas presented by the examples of other human beings. The third topic deals with the meanings of imitative action. I explore some of the factors involved with constructing the meanings of imitation and argue that one of the most important meanings deals with how imitation temporarily mediates community identity. I then show how this social mediation relates to human rationality and creativity. The project ends with an exploration of why this social understanding of human exemplarity matters to debates surrounding ethics education.
Issue Date:2005
Description:219 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3182418
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2005

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