Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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I Am that I Am: Subjectivity and World View in the Science Fictions of Philip K. Dick

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posted on 2021-11-12, 12:48 authored by Rose, Bradley

In this account of American science fiction writer Philip K. Dick's work, the aim has been to describe the involvement of assumptions inherited from philosophical and scientific discourse in both the understanding and experience of subjectivity. It is argued that Dick's representations of identity both picture the tensions engendered by the prevalent reality standard with which he had to deal and, in their development, come to articulate a path beyond the impasse this standard presents. The fundamental insufficiency of the world view Dick's fiction both encounters and embodies is epitomised by the twin questions with which he characterised his work: 'what is human?' and 'what is real?' In coming to terms with the significance of these questions the work of the Austrian philosopher and scientist Rudolf Steiner has been engaged as a critical foil to Dick's fictionalising. Special attention is given to the epistemological basis of Steiner's anthroposophy and its account of the world and our peculiar situation in it that, far from asserting any external and unvarying standard of truth, describes a process essentially evolutionary and unfixed. It is claimed that in Steiner, as in Dick, the human contribution to both identity and reality constitutes the validity of each, a matrix of subject and object from which one's self is delivered, in each instance a new beginning.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Master of Arts

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies


Opie, Brian