(Adult Development, Middle Age)
Marina Constance Bear
; 0242 VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY
Advisor: Adviser: JOHN LACHS
Source: DAI, 53, no. 06A, (1992): 1941
The intention behind this philosophical exploration of the concept of maturity is to arrive at a description, rather than a definition. A review of historical images of maturity support the idea that it is best sought in late adulthood, well into the period of middle age. Although American attitudes towards middle age are generally negative, there is considerable evidence from the social sciences that the majority of people in middle age see it as the prime of life. An examination of the characteristics of middle age illustrated by examples from literary works, combined with the writings of the Third Force psychologists who addressed the idea of fully-functioning, fully-actualized human being, leads to the identification of nineteen areas in which mature behavior can be identified and described. A discussion of these elements of maturity in turn leads to a description of maturity as a way of being, or an activity, which develops a self by organically interconnecting a constellation of elements to create a rich, self-expressive, fully particularized human being. This description is discussed in detail, with emphasis on the concept of self as developed by C. S. Peirce, Josiah Royce, G. H. Meade, and William James; on the nature of organisms; on the processes of unification and development; and on the importance of particularity to a realistic and useful view of maturity. In the course of the discussion, consideration is given to the advantage in seeing life as a full cycle composed of developmental eras, each with its own challenges and rewards, and to the idea that there are developmental prerequisites to the attainment of maturity. Finally, the fact that each individual creates a unique form in which to express maturity does not preclude the development of an ideal of human maturity to serve as inspiration for those growing towards, and developing in, adulthood.
Accession No: AAG9230947