Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Articulating a thesis question

Recently I have been working on a more precise articulation and clarification of my thesis question. Since my topic is not the more straightforward "personality" based approach ("what does x think about y?"), but is more thematic in orientation, it threatens to become a project about everything, and so about nothing. In order to avoid this, and give me some chance of finishing within cooee of a respectable timeframe, I've been working out what the project does not aim to do, as well as what it does.

I thought I would post some of my thoughts here so that I can (a) get some valued feedback from trusted (and perhaps as yet unknown) sources; (b) have a record of where my thinking was up to by this point to give me a good laugh when I look back in another year's time and (c) give me somewhere to direct people when the inevitable party conversation stopper arises: "so, what is your thesis actually on?"...

Here is where the wording of my title is up to at this point and I will be explaining it in reverse over a series of posts.

"Anxious about tomorrow": The possibility of Christian moral attentiveness in the predicament of societal unsustainability

A. Societal unsustainability: part one; part two
B. Predicament: part one; part two
C. Moral attentiveness: part one; part two
D. Christian: part one
E. Possibility: part one
F. Summary: part one


Donna said...

Ohh! Looking forward to reading these. I am interested as to why you say moral attentiveness is only a "possibility"...

Sam Charles Norton said...

Pedant's corner: why say 'attentiveness' when you could say 'attention'? (See: http://elizaphanian.blogspot.com/2008/01/ness.html and a certain comment from an Australian student....)

byron smith said...

Haha - Thanks Sam, it's always good to be reminded of one's own words.

However, in this case, I think there is a subtle distinction between "attention" and "attentiveness". I take the latter to be a longer term disposition in which one's attention is able to be fixed for periods of time despite destractions. Or put another way, everyone is always attending to something, but not everyone practises attentiveness.

Donna - I'll explain that in part 5.

Drew said...

(c): What a marvelous idea!