This paper critically examines Hume’s argument against the knowledge/existence of substantival mind. This denial is rooted in his epistemology which includes a theory of how complex ideas which lack corresponding impressions are manufactured by the imagination, in conjunction with the memory, on the basis of three relations among impressions: resemblance, continuity and constant conjunction. The crux of my critique consists in pointing out that these relations are such that only an enduring, unified agent could interact with them in the way Hume describes. I note that Hume attempts to provide such an agent by invoking the activities of imagination and memory, but that it is unclear where these belong in his system. After discussing the relevant possibilities, I conclude that there is no category within the limits of his system that can accommodate the faculties and allow them to do the work Hume assigned to them.
In Bend Sinister, Vladimir Nabokov utilizes various literary and narrative devices to stress the importance of one’s awareness of others’ various and unique perceptions of the world. We are exposed to the imperfections of different characters in the novel so that we may think about our own mental, emotional and psychological states. Loaded metaphorical imagery introduces a literary reality that invites us to think about how symbolism (in both inanimate and animate objects/characters) presents an observation on Nabokov’s thoughts on reality – that it is nigh on impossible to understand it (reality) objectively. Nabokov suggests that we may never comprehend what is truly reality for all that we know is simply our perceptions, which are produced from a mind of bias. Nabokov shows us that reality is subjective.
As Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness demonstrates, modernism rejected the aims and methods of realism, and claimed the inner self represented the real more closely than the public world. Furthermore, realism appeared to represent the world wholly and concisely. Conrad's novel rejects this, and instead exposes the failure of language to describe a complete reality. In Heart of Darkness, Marlow himself is incomplete, and so is his narrative. He is forced into imprecise language, resigned to using negative modifiers and repeating inexact words.
In The Good Soldier, Ford Maddox Ford does not fully develop any of the characters. The reader is intended to use the narrator Dowell’s disconnected and inaccurate impressions to build a more complete version of who the characters are, as well as form a more accurate view of what actually happens with “the sad affair” (Ford 9) of Dowell’s pathetic life. This use of a single character’s various perceptions creates a work that follows the style of literary impressionism, which, to some extent, should be only a series of personal impressions that culminates in the portrayal of reality as “a subjective experience” (van Gunsteren 239). This very subjectivity of reality is clearly evident in Dowell’s perception of other people and events. Dowell seems to be inherently incapable of understanding anyone’s true disposition or the effects of happenings in his life.
The interior voice of the manuscript, so to speak, embodied in the figure of the governess, makes problematically decide whether the apparitions are real or mere delusions. This is because the governess' point of view does not provide conclusive evidence about her experience; hence, the conflict remains a mystery and open to the interpretation of the reader. Throughout the story two first-person narrators can be distinguished: an unknown narrato... ... middle of paper ... ...critics, such as Edmund Wilson and Charles Thomas Samuels, have attributed to the term ambiguity. Ward highlights the fact that “ambiguity is an essentially honorific term, implying complexity, richness of meaning and levels of significance” (39). According to Ward, “they (Wilson and Samuels) believe that when a work is ambiguous either the author is unsure of what he wants to say or he is saying to contradictory things at the same time” (Ibid).
Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man harkens to DuBois’ idea of being “in the world, but not of it,” (vii). The text grapples with the concept of existing in the world yet not being authentically seen by the people of the world. The condition of the narrator, his invisibility, allows Ellison to explore double consciousness, the process of becoming aware of one’s duality, and the effects that existing as two selves can have on the psyche. The Prologue of the novel explains the unreal affliction the author has struggled with. He explains, “I am not invisible… simply because people refuse to see me,” (Ellison, 3).
“We are most unwilling to accept mystery, what cannot be reduced to other and more intelligible forms. Yet that is what we find here: something irreducible, therefore perpetually to be interpreted; not secrets to be found out one by one, but secrecy” (Kermode 143). In the play Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles, we see the difference between secrets and secrecy that Kermode talks about. In the play we see that those who pursue the truth, corrupt the uncovering of the hidden unknown with their assumptions and perceptions. When confronted with the mystery of Oedipus’s past, both the reader and Oedipus seek the truth, but come to a resolution that is tainted with their supposition rather than the truth.
Here's where Camus' Absurdist philosophy comes in: the universe may be meaningless, but it is foolish to leave it at that. Meursault's story takes us through the necessary steps for accepting the absurd; he shows us that in order to properly embrace the meaninglessness of the universe, you must first recognize that meaninglessness. We crave meaning, but Camus knows there is none to be found; meaning must be made. What this means for the novel is that Meursault is to be pitied, but not indefinitely, as his imprisonment forces him, and us, to re-address views. In the first act of The Stranger, Mersault is like Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the mountain: "a face that toils so close to the stone is already stone itself!” Camus writes in MoS.
Before the similarities are displayed, the justifications behind this premise are as follows. Kafka’s works demonstrates the use of a self-nulling reference system in order to void possibilities of critics attempting to use hermeneutics (Thiher, 50). Hermeneutics is the methodology of interpretation. Examples of this method can be found throughout the story in the use of the realistic and unrealistic elements intertwined in different situations. “Kafka’s Metamorphosis validates contradictory readings that cancel coherent interpretation,” is a quote by confirmed critic Gavriel Ben-Ephraim(451).
It is consequently difficult for any transmission of thought or word to stand clear of this intrinsic dogma. In a novel that uses language as a device for uncovering the perceived identity of its protagonist, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby also shows evidence of this same external narration that attempts to achieve discrimination between classes and control the behavior that governs social conduct. Fitzgerald's narrative strategy of using the character/observer Nick Carraway creates an ambiguity that distorts the reality of who the story is about and instead the story becomes about what the narrator sees and consequently interprets. In doing so, the author allows the reader to witness Nick's own authoritative scourse. By beginning the first chapter with Nick's account of his father's advice, Fitzgerald reveals the external narrative that governs Nick's interaction and comprehension of the events that unfold.