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Alan Watts (1915-1973) : le philosophe-artiste

Abstract : In our doctoral thesis, Alan Watts : the philosopher as artist, we present the ideas of Alan Watts, a key figure of the American counterculture. We believe that the terms "philosopher as artist" account for most of Watts's ideas concerning psychology, psychotherapy, eastern and western religions and metaphysics, especially Christian mysticism and zen buddhism. First, in the incidental approach, we study Watts's life and ideas and this leads us to a number of definitions of the "philosopher as artist", showing originality, lack of seriousness, cynism and a special attraction for such primitive characters as the shaman and the trickster. In the direct approach, we start from the notion of "philosopher as artist", explore several definitions of "the philosopher" and "the artist" and study what the latter term adds to or removes from the former : the philosopher as artist appears as someone in search of wisdom, who is at once original, constantly bewildered, is an interpreter and an aesthete. Watts's originality appears in his style, humour, play and purposelessness. Watts as an aesthete appreciates music and dance, recognises in beauty a reflection of divine beauty and, accordingly, tastes the beauty of life and the emotion derived from religious practice. We shall eventually wonder where the way of the philosopher as artist leads, and conclude that Watts stands between Nietzsche and Granier. In our third part, the circular approach, we study the influence of Watts on the American counter-culture and the interest for Watts today, and, last, we shall relate Watts to such thinkers as Trungpa, Merton, Fromm, Huxley and Graf Durckheim.
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Dominique Becker. Alan Watts (1915-1973) : le philosophe-artiste. Littératures. Université Nancy 2, 1996. Français. ⟨NNT : 1996NAN21014⟩. ⟨tel-01776564⟩



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