On May 13, 2019, I successfully defended my dissertation and officially became a doctor of philosophy in philosophy. I graduated from the University of Dallas on May 19, 2019. Here is the abstract of my dissertation.
Title: Madness in Merleau-Ponty and Foucault: Toward an Inclusive Account of the Nonrational in Human Experience
This project begins with the problem found in relating the human to the nonrational. I seek to address two primary questions: First, is the nonrational only found in madness? And second, if not, what role does it play in human experience? To answer these questions, I offer an inclusive approach to the human-nonrational relationship by bringing together the phenomenological perspective of Merleau-Ponty and the historical-structural perspective of Foucault. I use their respective discussions on madness as a focus topic by which we can understand the broader implications of the nonrational in human experience. The subject of madness, however, is not chosen at random, since it is traditionally a term designated to make a stark contrast between abnormal “mad” humans and normal “rational” humans. By investigating the cases of madness, we will find that such clear-cut categories do not exist, neither phenomenologically nor historically, but rather that the subject of madness illustrates the type of relationship that all humans have to the nonrational. Thus, I argue that nonrationality plays a pivotal role in all of human experience, not just in cases of psychopathology, and that it must be understood inclusively in order to have a proper view of humanity. I further believe that an inclusive account of nonrationality not only adds to the philosophical conversation, but it also offers fresh ideas to the practice of psychology.