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Author

Ingrid Harris

Date of Award

9-1996

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Philosophy

Supervisor

Dr. S.M. Najm

Abstract

The traditional paradigm of causality presupposed by the natural sciences is not equipped to handle the new ways of thinking coming in the wake of what has been called the "interpretive turn" in philosophy and the social sciences. This dissertation initiates a new paradigm of causality, one that seeks to be more adequate to the needs of twenty-first century philosophical and scientific thinking. The dissertation begins by reviewing the central problems of the old paradigm and attempting to indicate precisely how it is inadequate. Next, with the aid of David Hume's deconstruction of causality. this dissertation seeks to ground the proposed Paradigm in the meaning of causality as accessible to everyday lived experience (as opposed to basing it upon an a priori idea). Then, the analysis of causality so far achieved is brought within the phenomenological ontology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. which provides a non-dualist way of thinking the relationship between subject and object (as well as between objects and between subjects). The discussion seeks to show how a new manner of conceiving such relationships overcomes the intractable difficulties arising from thinking causality in traditional terms. Finally, the dissertation indicates some ways that the new paradigm might be deployed in both human and natural sciences and considers some of the implications of the new paradigm for changes in scientific thinking.

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