Indications for ethics in the concepts of guilt and shame in certain psychiatric theories.
White, Clifford Dale
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The problem of the dissertation is the relationship between conscience and cognition. The plan of the work is to study guilt, shame, and the evaluative function in psychiatric theory, to define a view of obligation, and to offer a critique of certain ethical theories. The term "evaluative function" refers to the processes by which experience is ordered into meaningful symbols and patterns. The distinction made by Gerhart Piers between shame and guilt is employed. [TRUNCATED] The conclusions are: 1). Obligation is a complex experience of signal-anxiety and interest. Interest is defined as organismic involvement with an unfinished task. 2). Obligation is coherently ordered with creative evaluation, which arises on the preverbal level and is dramaturgic in form; obligation is thus functionally cognitive, in the broad, integrative sense. 3). The evaluative function is an integrative tool of a self struggling for actualization. 4). The self is actualized in dynamic interaction with a social field. 5). Conscience, or the experience of obligation, is therefore rational, in that it is coherent with the immanent organismic logic of self-fulfillment in community. 6). H. A. Prichard makes obligation a separate cognitive function. He overlooks the depth evaluation which leads to an intuition of obligation. He divorces obligation from goodness, failing to see that obligation implies a value judgment. 7). c. L. Stevenson fails to see that an emotive statement of interest follows evaluation, and is therefore cognitive. His positivistic limitation of truth is called into question by the insight that preverbal forms of expression have meaning as well as logico-verbal expressions. His externalistic ethic of imputation presupposes an inner ethic of obligation. 8). Brand Blanshard most fully expresses the ethical perspective suggested by the dissertation, rooting goodness in human interests, showing that obligation is a concomitant of value-seeking, and relating conation to depth evaluation. 9). Blanshard does not fully develop an ethic of self-realization, nor does he adequately explicate the correlative relationship between the logic of community and the logic of self-fulfillment.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University
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