The problem of the individual and the synthetic in Max Weber, Harold Cherniss, and Michel Foucault

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Davis, Julian Owen
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University College Cork
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Relying on the work of the classicist, Harold F. Cherniss, the thesis argues that apart from the famous transcendental and stable Ideas, the Greek philosopher, Plato, also recognized the stability of phenomena, such as human persons and events. Such phenomena, the thesis argues, are individuals; and these individuals constitute key elements in the stability required for the formation of knowledge and meaning. The thesis connects this concern of Plato to the fact that, for Max Weber, stable individuals are the basis of meaning and of our understanding of reality. Furthermore, Weber and Plato are connected on the basis of their distinction between what is individual and stable and what is synthetic and altered. For Plato, that which is stable and individual never alters, and for Weber the individuals of history must be distinguished from the synthetic concepts of theory. The thesis incorporates Michel Foucault’s work by examining his assessment of Immanuel Kant. This assessment enables a reconstruction of Foucault’s own position on philosophy and understanding. The thesis argues that central to this position is a concern with stable individuals and a distinction between what is individual and what is synthetic. The thesis suggests that Foucault’s concern with the stable individual is best noticed in his work on Plato, and specifically in his work on the Platonic care of the self.
Meaning , Judgment , Reality , Change , Learning , Image , Ratio , Rationalization , Concept
Davis, J. O. 2017. The problem of the individual and the synthetic in Max Weber, Harold Cherniss, and Michel Foucault. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.