Browsing Masters Degrees (Philosophy) by browse.metadata.advisor "Cilliers, F. P."
Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
Results Per Page
- ItemComparing chaos and complexity : the quest for knowledge(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2004-03) Greybe, Sylvia Elizabeth; Cilliers, F. P.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The question of what it means to say one knows something, or has knowledge of something, triggered an epistemological study after the nature of knowledge and its acquisition. There are many different ways in which one can go about acquiring knowledge, manydifferent frameworks that one can use to search after truth. Because most real systems about which one could desire knowledge (organic, social, economic etc.) are non-linear, an understanding of non-linear systems is important for the process of acquiring knowledge. Knowledge exhibits the characteristics of a dynamic, adaptive system, and as such could be approached via a dynamic theory of adaptive systems. Therefore, chaos theory and complexity theory are two theoretical (non-linear) frameworks that can facilitate the knowledge acquisition process. As a modernist instrument for acquiring knowledge, chaos theory provides one with deterministic rules that make mathematical understanding of non-linear phenomenaa bit easier, but it is limited in that it can only provide one with certain knowledge up until the (system's) next bifurcation (i.e. when chaos sets in). After this, it is near impossible to predict what a chaotic system will do. Complexity theory, as a postmodern tool for knowledge acquisition, gives one insight into the dynamic, self-organising nature of the non-linear systems around one. By analysing the global stability complex systems produce during punctuated equilibrium, one can learn much about how these systems adapt, evolve and survive. Complexity and chaos, therefore, together can provide one with a useful framework for understanding the nature and workings of non-linear systems. However, it should be remembered that every observer of knowledge does so out of his/her own personal framework of beliefs, circumstances and history, and that knowledge therefore can never be 100 percent objective. Knowledge and truth can never be entirely relative either, however, for this would mean that all knowledge (and thereby all opposing claims and statements) is equally correct or true. This is clearly not possible. What is possible, though, is the fulfilling and successful pursuit of knowledge for the sake of the journey of learning and understandi ng.
- ItemComplexity and the self(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2002-12) De Villiers, Tanya; Cilliers, F. P.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this thesis it is argued that the age-old philosophical "Problem of the Self' can benefit by being approached from the perspective of a relatively recent science, namely that of Complexity Theory. With this in mind the conceptual features of this theory is highlighted and summarised. Furthermore, the argument is made that the predominantly dualistic approach to the self that is characteristic of the Western Philosophical tradition serves to hinder, rather than edify, our understanding of the phenomenon. The benefits posed by approaching the self as an emergent property of a complex system is elaborated upon, principally with the help of work done by Sigmund Freud, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Paul Cilliers. The aim is to develop a materialistic conception of the self that is plausible in terms of current empirical information and resists the temptation see the self as one or other metaphysical entity within the brain, without "reducing" the self to a crude materialism. The final chapter attempts to formulate a possible foil against the accusation of crude materialism by emphasising that the self is part of a greater system that includes the mental apparatus and its environment (conceived as culture). In accordance with Dawkins's theory the medium of interaction in this system is conceived of as memes and the self is then conceived of as a meme-complex, with culture as a medium for memetransference. The conclusion drawn from this is that the self should be studied through narrative, which provides an approach to the self that is material without being crudely physicalistic.
- ItemJustice and the law : a perspective from contemporary jurisprudence(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2000-03) Malan, Yvonne; Cilliers, F. P.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis examines the relationship between law and justice. Firstly, it is argued that the concept of justice tends to be defined too narrowly as distributive justice or as a mechanism to maintain social order. It is argued that Jacques Derrida's understanding of justice not only gives a richer and broader understanding of the concept, but also on its complex relationship with the law. Lastly, some of the possible implications for jurisprudence (with specific reference to Critical Legal Studies, Critical Race Theory and Drucilla Cornell) are examined.
- ItemThe other before us? : a Deleuzean critique of phenomenological intersubjectivity(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2005-12) Hugo, Johan; Cilliers, F. P.; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.This study seeks to give a philosophical account of, and justification for the intuition that subjectivity is not a stable “Archimedean point” on the basis of which an intersubjective relation can be founded, but is instead profoundly affected by each different “Other” with which it enters into a relation. As a preliminary to the positive philosophical account of how this might work in Part II of the thesis, there is an attempt to critique certain of the classical accounts of intersubjectivity found in phenomenology, in order to show that these positions cannot give a satisfactory account of the type of intersubjective relation which gives rise to the abovementioned intuition. The thesis therefore starts off by examining the account of intersubjectivity in Husserl’s Cartesian Meditations (especially the Fifth Meditation). Husserl is there engaged in an attempt to overcome the charge of solipsism that might be levelled at phenomenology, since phenomenology is concerned with experience as, by definition, the experience of the subject. We try to show that Husserl cannot give a satisfactory account of the Other because he tries to derive it from the Subject, and hence reduces the Other to the Same. We then turn to two other phenomenological thinkers – Merleau-Ponty and Levinas, both of whom are themselves critical of Husserl – to examine whether they provide a better account, but conclude that (although each represents a certain advance over Husserl), neither are able to provide a decisively better account, since each is still too caught up in phenomenology and its focus on consciousness. In Part II of the thesis, we then turn to a non- (or even anti-) phenomenological thinker, namely Gilles Deleuze, to try and find an alternative theory that would be able to provide the account we seek. Our contention is that Deleuze, by seeking to give an account of the constitution of the subject itself, simultaneously provides an account of the constitution of the Other as arising at the same time as the Subject. Crucial to this account is the inversion of priority between the poles of a relation and the relation itself. Deleuze argues that a relation is “external to its terms”, and precedes these terms. Hence, by returning to a level which precedes consciousness and the order of knowledge – that is, by returning to the level of the virtual multiplicities and singular events that underlie and precede the actualization of these events and multiplicities in distinct subjects and objects – we argue that Deleuze shows that, contra phenomenology, there is in fact no primordial separation between subject and Other. The contention is therefore that the problem of intersubjectivity as posed by phenomenology is a false one that can be eluded by means of Deleuze’s philosophy. This philosophy is not based on the subject, but instead shows the subject to be the product of an underlying network of relations. Finally, we turn to Deleuze’s appropriation of Nietzsche to trace out the transformation of “ethics” that result from adopting a position like that of Deleuze.
- Itemn Postmoderne uitdaging aan die 'paradigmale biomediese etiek model' met verwysing na kompleksiteitsteorie(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2002-12) De Roubaix, J. A. M. (John Addey Malcolm); Cilliers, F. P.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Introduction From the postmodern ethical perspective [the postmodernist would say Jrom the ethical perspective], there is something suspicious and inherently unethical in a system of ethics supported by a comprehensive, cohesive and universal metanarrative, a set of fixed and unbending ethical rules and laws, without the ready possibility of revision [Cilliers, 1998, pp.114, 137-140; Cilliers, 2001, p. 3; Cilliers, 1995, p.125]. Based on the ideas of especially Winkler [1993, pp. 343-365] I have concluded that contemporary mainstream biomedical ethics, represented and directed by the work of Beauchamp and Childress  are caught in such a crush. The primary objective of this assignment is to evaluate the 'principles' of biomedical ethics [respect Jar autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice] which were developed in their water-shed publication [Principles of Biomedical Ethics, Oxford University Press, first published in 1979, and now in a fifth edition, 2002] against a background of postmodern ethics. Methodology and conclusions I have argued that Beauchamp and Childress' conception of principlism is a contextual legalistic-philosophical response to the contemporary American situation, developed primarily from legal decisions [often litigation]. It may be regarded as acceptable practice guidelines, but represents a system of ethics without morality. I have given a concise rendering of Winkler's notion of context-based bioethics with the criticism that this also does not guarantee morality. Following that, there is a description of postmodern society in terms of complexity theory. I have indicated how the characteristics of complexity can be developed and applied contextually in bioethics. The postmodern moral society is the locus where morality develops in a non-controllable agonistic interactive process within which the postmodern moral agent unintentionally finds himself. The postmodern ethical position is not an unethical, come-as-you-may anything-goes position; it simply is not predictable, controllable, universal, rational [in a Kantian context] and eternal. Modernity, it can be argued exhibits a far greater degree of relativism. The postmodern ethical position represents a return to morality in ethics, morality of a very personal, face-to-face responsibility from which we as participants of society cannot hide. From a postmodern ethical perspective, an analysis of principlism and its underlying principles exhibits the characteristics of modernity: eternal moral rules which as such cannot be presented as morality. I have acknowleged Beauchamp and Childress' attempts at adding morality to their conception [in the 4th edition] by means of employing character ethics. They have nevertheless not made any radical changes in the format of their presentation and maintain the central and primary role of principles. I have also argued the limitations of the postmodern approach in terms of enclaves of strictly controlled modernity and artificial witholding of information in medicine which limit the free flow of information essential to the postmodern approach. My conception of complexity and the postmodern approach do not pretend to be a panacea for biomedical ethics. It attempts to redefine the meaning of morality in bioethics and questions the unbridled application of this conception of principIism. Finally I have discussed the burning issue of justice in the practice of medicine from the postmodern perspective. Do I as a person have a right to health care; what are the moral issues of dealing with 'life's lotteries'; what is the state's responsibility in health care, and: what are my personal responsibilities in health care? In contradistinction to libertarian concepts, the postmodern approach clearly argues in favour of the acceptance by the state of its role in health care [a responsibility abrogated in many societies, none more so than contemporary South-African society].
- ItemPoststructural ethics and the possibility of a general ethical theory(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2000-12) Hamman, J. N. (Johannes Nicolaas); Cilliers, F. P.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study is concerned with the possibility and characterisation of poststructural ethics and the ethics of general theories. It contains a review of selected readings on Modernity and provides a "snapshot" of an ethical system that is essentially rule based and privileges rationality. Some of the problems with such a system, such as inflexibility, tolerance based on superiority and force and the privileging of male gender is explored. It proceeds by perusing some literature on postmodernity as an open ethical system in which values are free floating and lists of rules are constantly produced and disregarded in a dizzying ethical free for all in which "anything goes". No value is considered more worthwhile than personal survival. As a starting point for reading Modernity and postmodernity together, Levinas introduces a radical perspective on ethics that can be read as a condemnation of postmodern morality. He relates an ethics in which the survival of the "other" is more important than the survival of the self. However, he does not ground the metaphysics of such a privilege in rationality or knowledge and hence does not turn it into an ethical rule, but rather, subtly shifts the responsibility for the other person to an ultimate responsibility for the Other as God. This radical responsibility is rejected by deconstruction which does not reject either postmodernity or Modernity but is an attempt to think through the limits of rule-orientated rationality, free-play and mystical metaphysics to produce an ethical awareness that has a sensitivity for the complexity of context. Through the notion of "writing", the peculiarities it displays and the objections it attracts, Derrida seeks to establish a uniquely ethical writing that is both a stable manifestation of ethics and a dynamic engagement with those subject to it. With these readings in the background the thesis attempts to provide a framework for poststructural ethics. It is an ethics based in the notion of friendship but does not ground itself in any guarantees. It re-evaluates rationality in terms of a sublime struggle for meaning and truth. This sublime struggle offers a unique perspective on political debates that strive towards responsible development for multicultural societies and also on a sociological approach to law and the ability to dispense justice without undue prejudice. The main contention of the thesis is that although poststructuralism does not suppose a grounding metaphysics in either rationality or responsibility towards God it cannot be satisfied with the self-indulgent nihilism of an "anything goes" postmodernism. Thus, it depends on the notion of a "complex system" that "self-organises" and produces limits through spontaneous connections. Through the working of deconstruction complex systems can take on a more human manifestation as friendships flourish and decay through the interaction of faces.