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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The notion of order in R.W. Emerson and Chuang Tzu Hagiwara, Takao


This thesis is a comparative study of the notion of order in Emerson and Chuang Tzu. The notion of order seems to be significant, because it is directly connected with what is thought to be the most fundamental problem of human existence which seems to critically affect the totality of the modes and structures of human phenomena, including, of course, literature. This problem lies in the relationships between dualism and non-dualism (cf. p. 12, n. 1). Needless to say, one's concept of order varies greatly depending on the degree of one's inclination toward either of these two attitudes, because, as is the case with any notion that has its opposite, order inevitably presupposes its opposite concept, disorder, thus putting the problem of order on the level of dualism. Therefore, by examining Emerson's and Chuang Tzu's notions of order, we can hope to clarify whether and how their attitudes toward the universe are dualistic or non-dualistic. In order to achieve this purpose we shall divide this thesis into three chapters. The first chapter compares Emerson's notion of order and boundaries with that of Chuang Tzu and reaches the conclusion that the former is based on the dualism of the either/or type of logic, while the latter is based on the non-dualistic both/and type of logic. In the second chapter we examine Emerson's and Chuang Tzu's concepts of order from the viewpoint of law and establish that Emerson's notion of law and order is Logocentric, whereas that of Chuang Tzu is Chaos-oriented. In the last chapter we approach the theme of order from the perspective of life. In this chapter, too, our classification of Logos and Chaos, the logic of either/or and that of both/and, becomes useful in surveying Emerson's and Chuang Tzu's notion of life, and order. This chapter aims to reach the same conclusions as those of the previous chapters, concerning the concepts of order and life in Emerson and Chuang Tzu. Our overall aim in this thesis is to establish that Emerson's notion of order is basically Logocentric (i.e., dualistic), while that of Chuang Tzu is Chaos-oriented (i.e., non-dualistic), and that both views are equally valid and indispensable in constituting the universe in its entirety.

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