William Blake, philosopher : an analysis of the metaphysical system underlying his poetry

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dc.contributor.advisor MacDougall, James K. en_US
dc.contributor.author Schlieper, Reinhold, 1944- en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2011-06-03T19:30:47Z
dc.date.available 2011-06-03T19:30:47Z
dc.date.created 1974 en_US
dc.date.issued 1974
dc.identifier LD2489.Z64 1974 .S34 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://cardinalscholar.bsu.edu/handle/handle/180486
dc.description.abstract The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the philosophy of William Blake as it is expressedin his poetry and other works. The study shows Blake as a lucid and consistent thinker whose philosophy is a subjective idealism, not unlike Berkeley's, directed against British empiricism. The study is divided into an examination of his theory of gods, his theory of knowledge, his theory of what there is, his theory of man, and his ethics.Blake's theory of God is not unlike Spinoza's in that it is a pantheism which appears as atheism to those not thoroughly familiar with Blake's thought. God, according to Blake, is an all-penetrating life force evidenced by the universality of drives, instinctual behavior, and the collective unconscious on the level of dream and imagination.Imagination is also central to Blake's epistemology. This theory of knowledge is shown to relyon voluntarily changeable a priori structures of the mind. Blake calls these the imagination and explains them in terms of the fourfold vision. Dependent on poetic metaphor, man's imagination or the poetic genius in every man is able to create a world of appearance, a world which is, as any world, man's mental image.Based on this epistemology, Blake's cosmology indicates a noumenal world, which is pantheisticto the degree to which a theory of an all-penetrating life force can be considered a pantheistic one. The noumenal world is interpreted in accordance with the a priori structures of the mind, and the noumenon can appear, as a result of such interpretation, as phenomenon. While the phenomenon is held in being by the perceiver, the noumenon is metaphysical, static unity independent of perception.On that noumenal level, also time is static and structured. Man's perception causes it to appear as progressing, but the fact that certain elements of apparent reality are recurrent gives evidence of the static essence of time. The poetic genius supplies structure also to the human experience of time.The theory of man is dependent upon the same distinction between phenomenal and noumenal world. In reference to man, Blake distinguishes between phenomenal men (principio individuationis) and the noumenal Man (humanity as one Being). In respect to man in society, Blake has a very pessimistic view. Existential man is engaged in battle and mutual exploitation which he insufficiently seeks to control through the institution of religion and moralities. Such institutions (Urizen) have a repressive effect and serve to pervert the instinctual human self (Orc).Blake's ethics, then, seek to liberate the instinctual self and to defeat reason, the originator of morality and religion. The ultimate end of such a liberation is to overcome phenomenal objectness or fragmentation for the sake of a symbiotic unity of man with man and man with the world. An imaginative identification of man with man and a dropping of all ego-boundaries is essential to the symbiotic unity and the achievement of a universal self of mankind.Throughout the study, I attempted to cite parallel examples from other philosophers and philosophies, which examples were to help place Blake into perspective in terms of the development of occidental philosophy as well as to elucidate some of the key ideas in Blake's thought. Ultimately, what the study shows is that Blake is a philosopher who, like Nietzsche's Zarathustra, chose poetic language as the most meaningful and most effective vehicle for his philosophy. en_US
dc.format.extent 278, ix leaves ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.other Blake, William, 1757-1827. en_US
dc.title William Blake, philosopher : an analysis of the metaphysical system underlying his poetry en_US
dc.description.degree Thesis (D. Ed.) en_US
dc.identifier.cardcat-url http://liblink.bsu.edu/catkey/415809 en_US


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  • Doctoral Dissertations [3090]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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