UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The philosophical implications of the poetic impulse in Western civilization Gidney, Eileen Lee


The main theme of my thesis is that Spenglerian analysis of western civilization as declining is correct, in that specifically western culture and civilization is giving way ,more and more, to a world culture-pattern; but my thesis disagrees with his version of the decadence of all art-forms today as part of a declining culture, postulating rather that, specifically in the arts of Architecture and film, there is enormous activity of a creative nature. My thesis also quarrels with Spengler's analysis of the relations existing between the economic- forms of society and the art-objects produced by that society. He states that the economic forms are the product of the soul of the culture. I contend that the art-products of the culture mirror the motivating drives of the economic forces of the social group while in a state of considerable interaction with them. I have tried to present my thesis , with both positions clearly stated, quoting Spengler at some length on the one hand, and Lewis Mumford at an equal length on the other, and with a supporting citation from Kuth Benedict's book, "Patterns of Culture" on social patterns of a more primitive nature. My thesis is divided into four chapters, the first serving as an introduction to the point-of-view and thematic material of the whole work; the second and third covering the recorded history of the motivating drives of western historical periods, drawing from this material to support my contention of the basic relationship existing between the methods of production in a social group and the art-objects produced by that group. In the final chapter, I have attempted to sum up the inferences from the historical chapters and to present my thesis and its main position in some detail.

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