Theoretical Papers and Phenomenological Sketches

C. George Boeree, Ph.D.

Shippensburg University

Henceforth, my dear philosophers, let us be on guard against the dangerous old conceptual fiction that posited a "pure, will-less, painless, timeless knowing subject"; let us guard against the snares of such contradictory concepts as "pure reason," "absolute spirituality," "knowledge in itself":  these always demand that we should think of an eye that is completely unthinkable, an eye turned in no particular direction, in which the active and interpreting forces, through which alone seeing becomes seeing something, are supposed to be lacking;  these always demand of the eye an absurdity and a nonsense. There is only a perspective seeing, only a perspective "knowing"; and the more affects we allow to speak about one thing, the more eyes, different eyes, we  observe one thing, the more complete will our "concept" of this thing, our "objectivity," be.  But to eliminate the will altogether, to suspend each and every affect, supposing we were capable of this -- what would that mean but to castrate the intellect? -- from Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals (Kaufmann, trans.)

In these papers, I develop and explore a theory of personality (and human existence) that is grounded in phenomenological observation of myself and others.  I begin with the fundamental observation that, although experience points to a real world, we are never permitted more than a perspective on that world.  Because of our limitations as subjects, we are forced to fill-out our view of reality with various constructions, most of which are linguistic in nature and are provided for us by our society.  Generally, these social constructions are benign.  But these constructions are easily mistaken for reality.  When that happens, we need to return to a more immediate experiencing of reality, that is, we need to "come to our senses."

The second paper looks at seven "archetypal" perspectives, seen both in the historical development of ideas and in the development of the individual mind.  The third paper attempts to discover the roots of our purposive or teleological natures in feedforward networks.  The fourth provides a theory of consciousness consistent with perspectives theory.  Finally, the phenomenological sketches examine a variety of issues such as anger, love, pain and pleasure, humor, free will, and insightful perception.