The Literary Relationships of Robert Coles and Walker Percy: An American Search for Meaning (Hardback)Edward Francisco (author)
Hardback 356 Pages / Published: 01/08/2016
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American Book Award winner Walker Percy spent his literary career insisting that a model of science ignoring the human being's unique ability to assign. Meaning with names was doomed to be inadequate, at best, and destructive at worst. In particular, Percy saw the danger in treating the human being as a dyadic creature, i.e., one responding only to stimulus response formulations. As Percy would put it, constructing a human being as capable of being explained solely by dyadic behaviourism "is like saying that Einstein's special theory will be accepted only to the degree that it can be verified by Newtonian mathematics." What was needed was not more of the same but a new model of science accounting for the self's status as both a sign and a sign maker-receiver in a continuous mediation of signs and objects. As a psychiatrist, Coles had at his disposal numerous theories to account for human beings alienated status. However, he had the example of William Carlos Williams warning against abstraction, stating in one poem that there were "no ideas but in things." This emphasis on the concrete and the particular could come to characterize Coles' mode of inquiry into the human condition. Not even Eric Erikson's advice that Coles should offer some sort of theoretical formulation describing his approach would dissuade Coles from focusing on the individual's predicament rather than treating him as a complex of symptoms.
Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press
Number of pages: 356
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