Supervisor: Professor Ülo Matjus (University of Tartu
Opponent: assistant professor João Constâncio (Ph.D., Universidade Nova de Lisboa.
In my dissertation I concentrate on the concept of decision. I argue that it is possible and sound to speak about two in some ways certainly interrelated but still fundamentally and radically different conceptions of decision. One of these conceptions, which I call the traditional and dominating understanding of decision, is seen to originate from Aristotle; the other, which I designate as an heretical "conception", derives from the works of Jacques Derrida.
Firstly, I have outlined Aristotle's concept of decision and analysed problems and difficulties related to it, as well as concepts - like voluntary (hekôn), firm disposition (hexis), virtue (aretê), deliberation (bouleusis) etc. - that it is based on. Thereafter, I have outlined Derrida's heretical "concept" of decision and contrasted it with Aristotle's concept. It has been argued that Derrida not only problematizes or radicalizes many of the aspects of Aristotelian (and Aristotle's) treatment of decision, but also breaks away from it in some important respects. It has been demonstrated, namely, that for Derrida decision is no longer based on the activity and autonomy of the decision-maker or "subject", but should rather be understood as something "passive", "heteronomous" and partially even "unconscious".