Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning


The research problem is to examine the epistemological nature of the relationship which exists between the human will and the learning process using the development of a fictional character, i.e,, Stavrogin in Dostoevsky’s The Possessed, as focus for the study.

The purpose of this study is to identify and analyze Dostoevsky’s theory of will as that theory describes the educational growth and development of the individual and defines the process by which the individual comes to know his own nature and that of the world. The study derives from the theory of will specific educational principles.

Dostoevsky’s theory of will is defined as a movement of mind in which progress is made towards a closer realisation of the absolute. This movement towards union with the absolute gives rise to a heightened sense of self. This heightened sense of self gives rise, in turn, to an awareness of the inter-relationships and dependencies which make up the structure of the world.

The principles derived from the study of Dostoevsky's theory of will are considered as epistemological principles which have relevance to educational theory. They are identified as follows:

1. Dostoevsky's epistemology demands as a starting point the concept of the self as a choosing subjectivity. Educational theory should take into consideration the concept of self as it seeks to develop the individual worth of those involved In education.

2. The concept of self is tied to a recognition of man's will as an agent of decision and commitment. Educational theory must acknowledge the existence and function of will if it wishes to promote the development of self.

3. The will is that aspect of mind which commits the individual to the relationship with the other-as-subject which is at the heart of the learning process. The learning process refers to the interaction which takes place when two individtials freely enter into relationship in order to examine those ideas which have a bearing on their existence.

4. Learning wil3 not take place unless one acknowledges the existence of the other-as-subject. Education implies relationship, i.e., the unique relationship which exists between educator and student.