Narratives of Existence and the Narrative Existence: Ontological Unity in the Border Trilogy and Quantum Theory
Abilene Campus (Residential)
Date of Award
Master of Arts
Committee Chair or Primary Advisor
Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor
Third Committee Member or Committee Reader
Because the humanities and the sciences approach philosophical questions in contrasting ways, the study of literature and the study of physical science are often viewed as unrelated realms of scholarly inquiry. Science aims to provide a methodological approach for gathering knowledge about the world, while the humanities focus on criticism or analysis of cultural artifacts. However, even though the conceptual frameworks applied in scientific study and literary study are often incompatible or remarkably divergent, their methods for conceptualizing and transmitting ideas are the same, for humanity understands the world and experience of this world through narratives composed of referential metaphors. Consequently, both realms of study serve as philosophical inquiries into the nature of reality and existence by constructing narratives that illustrate a story of the world, even if their ontological descriptions or frameworks are at odds. By exploring the ways that modern physics demonstrates the world’s wholistic and self-relational behavior, this project illustrates how both fictional stories and narratives from empirical science emanate from the behavior of the world. Analyzing the narrative presented in Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy and demonstrating the ways in which its story is conceptually cohesive with modern physics, this project describes how McCarthy’s fiction and quantum theory are unified in their elaboration of a constitutional mono-ontology. In this way, the complementary connections between these disparate philosophical examples exemplifies a harmonious interpretation of ontology, where the world persists as a continuously fluctuating narrative of material construction.
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McIntosh, Rebecca, "Narratives of Existence and the Narrative Existence: Ontological Unity in the Border Trilogy and Quantum Theory" (2023). Digital Commons @ ACU, Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 604.
Metaphysics Commons, Modern Literature Commons, Other English Language and Literature Commons