Dissertation Defense Announcement
College of Arts and Sciences announces the Final Dissertation Defense of
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
March 19, 2019 at 10:30 AM in Clement Hall, Room 329
Advisor: Dr. Shaun Gallagher
Artifacts, others, and temporality: an enactive and phenomenological approach to material agency
ABSTRACT: Phenomenological Approaches to Material Agency: Individual, Collective, and Historical This dissertation will be organized in the portfolio style. It will center around the themes that develop further and expand Material Engagement Theory, especially regarding the hypothesis of material agency. The dissertation will focus on (1) clarifying and making intelligible certain aspects of this theory from the perspective of embodied and enactive cognition and phenomenological approaches to contemporary cognitive science, and (2) using some of the ideas from MET to make interventions in and enrich the current state of literature. The independent papers of my dissertation will follow roughly this trajectory. The first will deal with a phenomenological approach to material agency drawing on Merleau-Ponty's understanding of habit. The second will deal with the implications of MET for group and collective agency, characterized in terms of heedful interrelations within the built environment. The third will deal with the ecological theory of affordances, and how the non-linear unfolding of time offers us a way of thinking about the historical depth of affordances that appear in material culture.