Espejos y Espejismos: Reflexiones Cognitivas Binarias y Difusas del Pensamiento Occidental en el Quijote
AuthorRivas, Juan Carlos
Lazarillo de Tormes
Miguel de Cervantes
AdvisorWilliamsen, Amy R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractHumans seem to have a cognitive predisposition for perceiving different concepts in terms of opposite extremes, which in turn fosters an either / or mentality where only two contrary views are possible - tertium non datur. This tendency is also reflected in Don Quixote, where the arrangement of multiple and diverse elements through dualistic patterns is so prevalent, and represent such an essential structural characteristic, that it becomes Cervantes’s own ars poetica. However, once readers look beyond the apparent dichotomies, a higher degree of complexity emerges. We can debate whether Don Quixote is either crazy or sane using the Aristotelian aut / aut logic, but a different possibility would also be enlightening - tertium datur. This dissertation offers an alternative critical framework which combines cognitive theories of categorization and perception with the ideas of Heraclitus, Abelard’s Sic et Non, and Bart Kosko’s Fuzzy Thinking based on Lofti Zadeh’s Fuzzy Logic. Through the new fuzzy and (ambi)valent logic Don Quixote can be perceived simultaneously as crazy and sane - sic et non - since both possibilities are valid at the same time. This new approach reveals that Cervantes employs dualities - equal and opposing elements - not to simplify but rather to make us reflect and deepen our knowledge of the human condition. Thus, Don Quixote functions as a mirror (speculum) in numerous levels, since the text’s self-reflexive structure can in turn provoke reflections and interpretations ad infinitum. Chapter 1 of the dissertation explores the long tradition surrounding the use of dualities from classical antiquity to the Early Modern period from a binary perspective. Chapter 2 establishes a theoretical framework based on a fuzzy and (ambi)valent cognitive categorization and perception. That framework is then applied in chapter 3 to the dichotomies explored in chapter 1, and then, in chapter 4, to the dualistic categories and schemata in Don Quixote. Chapter 5 analyzes the interconnectedness of cognitive entities which are typically studied separately: the author (Cervantes), the text (Don Quixote), and the readers (the critics), along with their respective contexts. Thus, this is both a critical / analytical study as much as a meta-analytical / meta-critical endeavor.
Degree ProgramGraduate College