Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Elwin C. Nielsen


Elwin C. Nielsen


This is a theoretical/philosophical paper which is intended to bring to the reader's attention an emerging literature and discussion which holds potentially productive consequences for the understanding of man. This thesis does not offer completed formulations or empirical groundings. The purpose is to create a basis for dialogue.

This paper will initially specify a current conflict in psychology around the different metaphors used to define the image of man. A theoretical/philosophical basis for viewing the process of generating models of man and his behavior as essentially "metaphorical" is then presented. A specific category of human behavior known as the neurotic paradox (henceforth abbreviated NP) is defined and a review of literature on the root metaphorical interpretations of the NP is discussed. The prominent extant models of human behavior reviewed in this discussion are those based on the metaphors Spirit, Disease, Machine, and Seed. The limitations of each model will be discussed with regard to that model's adequacy to provide understanding of the four basic defining characteristics of the NP. This section constitutes the main body of the thesis. This evaluative discussion of the theoretical/philosophical inadequacies of each model is intended to bring to light the process and strategies (both explicit and implicit) which have evolved in the interpretation of the image of man.



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