Date: August 2003
Creator: McMullen, Tracy
Description: This thesis is a 'big-picture' look at the course of Western philosophy and its eventual arrival at ideas that look remarkably similar to the revelations of Guatama Buddha 2500 years ago. I look at the roots of how the West has understood itself and understood "being" through the centuries and at the revolutions in thought that took place in the 20th century. I look more closely at 20th century thinkers to demonstrate how their thinking begins to align with the ancient insights of Eastern philosophy, particularly the notions of a prevailing emptiness as "ground" of Being and of the fallacy of the individual subject. I also look at how some 20th century artists have engaged with these new ideas. I see generally two responses to the postmodern (post-subject) position: that of a play of surfaces, such as in the work of Andy Warhol and the philosophy of Jean Baudrillard; and that of an embracing of absence, presented in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger and the works of such artists as John Cage, George Brecht, Pauline Oliveros, Bill Wegman, David Hammons and others.
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