Portland State University. Department of English
Michael J. Clark
Date of Award
Master of Arts (M.A.) in English
1 online resource (v, 58 p.)
Materialism, Promises, Social justice, Negotiable instruments
This thesis is an exploration into the mechanism of Marxist materialism. It is an attempt, in the face of materialism, to regain a grasp on our intellectual lives. The promise, I will argue, is a nexus between the material and ideal realms; it largely determines the configurations of our thoughts along three poles: privacy/recognition, sovereignty/subjection, and individual/society. In this thesis, I will explore the history of the promise during the sixteenth-century development of the negotiable instrument- a form of the promise that could be bought and sold. This development, I will argue, led to a general transformation of language during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries such that the concept of the referent largely replaced the concept of the signifier. In the realm of mathematics, this transformation led to the creation of the symbolic variable; elsewhere, it led to the creation of what Mary Poovey has called the modern fact.
Buswell, Evan Conrad, "The Work of Promising and the Creation of Meaning" (2011). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 166.