Document Type : علمی - پژوهشی


1 Assistant Professor of English Department, Islamic Azad University, Borujerd

2 Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University


John Barth, among postmodern American novelists, is apt to be called the reviver of Pyrrhonist tradition in the Twentieth century. In his creation of Pyrrhonist characters, he criticizes the American value system and the empty life of contemporary man in a broad sense. The End of the Road, Barth’s second novel is a successful example in which the marry traits of a protagonist give their place to the mean qualities of an antagonist. In the novel, the anti-hero characters suffering from a mental paralysis under the title “Cosmopsis” resort to “Mythotherapy” which means nothing but a distortion of identity. Among the consequences of this treatment are, of course, “Decidophobia” and “hyperbolic Cartesian doubt.” Interestingly, Barth’s description for the irrationality of such a man corresponds to the definition of rationality in Pyrrhonism. On this basis, the main question of the research arises from the fact that Barth’s views are an embodiment of those historical thoughts regarded as Pyrrhonist skepticism, which have been developed through ages by different forms. Apart from the historical impressions on the formation of modern skeptical philosophy which was flourished first by Cartesian doubt and developed by Hume’s empiricism the research also examines Barth’s postmodern-skeptical cosmology which derives from his obsession with identity and meaning. The overall point inferred by the researchers is that how Barth in The End of the Road indicates human decisions rely most on “emotions” rather than “reason” and that the rationality of man take him nowhere but in itself.


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