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Three Essays On Strategy And Social Responsibility, Carson Everhart Young Jan 2019

Three Essays On Strategy And Social Responsibility, Carson Everhart Young

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

The phenomenon of greenwashing receives significant public and academic attention. So do the related practices of bluewashing (regarding involvement with the United Nations Global Compact) and the use of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as mere window dressing. The first essay in this dissertation provides a conceptual and ethical analysis of these practices. It also criticizes some frameworks for using CSR as a tool for increasing a firm’s economic performance. If CSR is to be taken seriously, rather than dismissed as a marketing gimmick at best or a veil for corporate malfeasance at worst, then we cannot endorse CSR decisions ...


How To Live A Good Life And Afterlife: Conceptions Of Post-Mortem Existence And Practices Of Self-Cultivation In Early China, Ying Zhou Jan 2019

How To Live A Good Life And Afterlife: Conceptions Of Post-Mortem Existence And Practices Of Self-Cultivation In Early China, Ying Zhou

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

In the field of sinology, a widespread truism is that mind-body holism is a defining characteristic of early Chinese conception of human life. In this dissertation, we wish to demonstrate that contesting notions of life and death co-exist in early China, against the presumption that mind-body dualism never arises in early China. First, through examining elite burials from Western Zhou through the Han, we demonstrate how the diametrically opposed visions of the dead (that of an ancestral spirit who lacks eternal existence and that of an immortal with a transcended physical form) were seamlessly combined in the burial practices from ...


Freedom, Society, And The Individual In Early Modern Women's Thought, Patrick Leon Ward Ball Jan 2019

Freedom, Society, And The Individual In Early Modern Women's Thought, Patrick Leon Ward Ball

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This dissertation describes and analyses several different approaches to the relation between individuals and wider social groupings in the work of Margaret Cavendish, Sophie de Grouchy, Gabrielle Suchon, Mary Wollstonecraft, and other women of the early modern period in Europe. From these disparate sources—Cavendish’s vitalist metaphysics, Suchon’s practical ethics, Wollstonecraft’s polemical aesthetics—a unifying political concern can be drawn: one of how individuals relate to their societies, and how this relation can be distorted or outright controlled by existing power relations.

Each chapter approaches this subject from a different side: the tension of individual freedom and ...


Divination And Deviation: The Problem Of Prediction And Personal Freedom In Early China, Yunwoo Song Jan 2018

Divination And Deviation: The Problem Of Prediction And Personal Freedom In Early China, Yunwoo Song

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

The question I address in my dissertation relates to the conundrum of the prediction of fate in early China. How did the early Chinese people predict the future, and to what degree did they believe that the predicted future is inevitable? I examine the history of divination from the Shang to the Han dynasties to show that the belief in the power of anthropomorphic spirits weakened, and the universe was gradually conceived of as working in regular cycles. The decreasing reliance on the power of spirits during the Shang period is reflected in changes in bone divination. And divination texts ...


Subjectivity And Politics In Pasolini's Bourgeois Tragic Theater, Andrew Korn Jan 2018

Subjectivity And Politics In Pasolini's Bourgeois Tragic Theater, Andrew Korn

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Italian author Pier Paolo Pasolini wrote his plays Affabulazione, Orgia and Porcile during his shift to theater in the late 1960s as a critical response to consumer culture in Italy and the West more generally. For him, this expanding mass, petit-bourgeois civilization displaced Italy’s premodern cultures and their sense of the sacred. In his plays, his bourgeois protagonists re-experience the sacred and undergo conversion. The works engender his new “bourgeois tragic” genre, in which the sacred’s return destroys modern subjectivity. They offer a unique examination of this subjectivity, its radicalizing breakdown and the potential radical politics that could ...


Explaining Stability And Change In Natural Systems, Stephen Esser Jan 2018

Explaining Stability And Change In Natural Systems, Stephen Esser

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

An aim of science is to increase our understanding of the natural world. A primary means for doing so is by providing explanations, which often proceed by tracing the causes of phenomena. How can a causal explanation lead to understanding? While explanations can take many forms, I argue that to succeed they must embody a conception of causation shared with their audience. The challenge then, is to describe this conception and detail its role in explanation. While there is good evidence that scientists employ more than one causal concept, I argue that the concept of productive causation (centered on the ...


Actually Embodied Emotions, Jordan Christopher Victor Taylor Jan 2018

Actually Embodied Emotions, Jordan Christopher Victor Taylor

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This dissertation offers a theory of emotion called the primitivist theory. Emotions are defined as bodily caused affective states. It derives key principles from William James’s feeling theory of emotion, which states that emotions are felt experiences of bodily changes triggered by sensory stimuli (James, 1884; James, 1890). However, James’s theory is commonly misinterpreted, leading to its dismissal by contemporary philosophers and psychologists. Chapter 1 therefore analyzes James’s theory and compares it against contemporary treatments. It demonstrates that a rehabilitated Jamesian theory promises to benefit contemporary emotion research. Chapter 2 investigates James’s legacy, as numerous alterations ...


An Act-Focused Theory Of Political Legitimacy, Justin Bernstein Jan 2018

An Act-Focused Theory Of Political Legitimacy, Justin Bernstein

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

There is a moral presumption against the possession or exercise of coercive power, but political power is coercive. If we think that political power is sometimes morally justified, then given the moral presumption against coercive power, we need a theory as to when political power is morally justified and what justifies it. That is, we need a theory of political legitimacy. This dissertation develops and defends a novel theory of legitimacy, the Act-Focused Consequentialist Theory of Legitimacy.

This theory departs in significant respects from existing theories. In Part One of the dissertation, “Four Theses on Legitimacy,” I argue that these ...


Being And The Good: Natural Teleology In Early Modern German Philosophy, Nabeel Hamid Jan 2018

Being And The Good: Natural Teleology In Early Modern German Philosophy, Nabeel Hamid

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This dissertation examines the problem of teleology in early modern German philosophy. The problem, briefly, is to account for the proper sources and conditions of the use of teleological concepts such as design, purpose, function, or end in explaining nature. In its modern guise, the status of these concepts becomes problematic with the rise of modern science in the seventeenth century, which reconceived the physical world as fundamentally inert and purposeless and rejected the medieval view of the world as governed by goal-directed powers. This disssertation argues that the reception of the new science in Germany was deeply conditioned by ...


How Beliefs Are Like Colors, Devin Sanchez Curry Jan 2018

How Beliefs Are Like Colors, Devin Sanchez Curry

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Teresa believes in God. Maggie’s wife believes that the Earth is flat, and also that Maggie should be home from work by now. Anouk—a cat—believes it is dinner time. This dissertation is about what believing is: it concerns what, exactly, ordinary people are attributing to Teresa, Maggie’s wife, and Anouk when affirming that they are believers. Part I distinguishes the attitudes of belief that people attribute to each other (and other animals) in ordinary life from the cognitive states of belief theoretically posited by (some) cognitive scientists. Part II defends the view that to have an ...


Seeing Things As We Do: Ecological Psychology And The Normativity Of Visual Perception, Louise Daoust Jan 2017

Seeing Things As We Do: Ecological Psychology And The Normativity Of Visual Perception, Louise Daoust

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

In virtue of what is perception successful? In philosophy and psychology, we sometimes assume that visual accuracy amounts to a correspondence between percepts and subject-independent, physical properties. In this dissertation, I argue that we should reject this assumption in favor of norms grounded in the action-guiding nature of perception.

Recent theories of perception purport to cast off the intellectualist baggage of twentieth-century thinking, and to address perception in its own distinctive terms. I show that these approaches are unified in aiming to reduce spatial aspects of the percept to subject-independent geometrical facts about the object-perceiver relation. In doing so, these ...


Understanding Innovation And Imitation In Evolution, Karen Kovaka Jan 2017

Understanding Innovation And Imitation In Evolution, Karen Kovaka

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Biologists have a long history of arguing about the relative importance of organisms and environments in driving evolution. Do organisms passively respond to their environments or actively shape them? Is the environment just a filter that removes the least fit organisms from each generation, or also a source of new traits? The most recent incarnation of these debates focuses on developmental plasticity, a developing organism's sensitivity to environmental inputs. All organisms are plastic to some degree. Many can change their sex, morphology, and behavior in response to their environments. The question for biologists is, does the widespread presence of ...


Continuity In Enriched Categories And Metric Model Theory, Simon Seamoon Cho Jan 2017

Continuity In Enriched Categories And Metric Model Theory, Simon Seamoon Cho

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

We explore aspects of continuity as they manifest in two separate settings - metric model theory (continuous logic) and enriched categories - and interpret the former into the latter. One application of continuous logic is in proving that certain convergence results in analysis are in fact uniform across the choices of parameters: Avigad and Iovino outline a general method to deduce from a given convergence theorem that the convergence is uniform in a ``metastable'' sense. While convenient, this method imposes strict requirements on the kinds of theorems allowed: in particular, any functions occurring in the theorem must be uniformly continuous. In aiming ...


The Ethics Of Meaning, Robert B. Willison Jan 2017

The Ethics Of Meaning, Robert B. Willison

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This dissertation develops an ethics of meaning. In the first chapter, I offer an account of meaning that comprehends its many varieties—natural, cultural, linguistic, literary, and ethical meaning, for example—by appeal to the structural role meaning plays in the practice of interpretation. In Chapter 2, I develop a distinctive account of the concept of ethical meaning (“meaning” as it’s used in the phrase “the meaning of life”). In Chapter 3, I develop a new account of irony on the basis of the comprehensive-interpretive account of meaning introduced in Chapter 1.


Why Does Plato's Laws Exist?, Harold Parker Jan 2017

Why Does Plato's Laws Exist?, Harold Parker

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

If the ideal city described at length in Plato’s Republic is a perfect and philosophically attractive encapsulation of Plato’s political philosophy, why does Plato go on to write the Laws – which also describes an ideal city, albeit one very different from the Republic? The fundamental challenge of scholarship concerning the Laws is to supply a comprehensive account of the dialogue that explains all aspects of it while also distinguishing the Laws from the Republic in a way that does not devalue the Laws as a mere afterthought to the Republic. Past attempts at meeting this challenge, I argue ...


Epistemic Practices In Adults And Adolescents, Sarah Emlen Metz Jan 2017

Epistemic Practices In Adults And Adolescents, Sarah Emlen Metz

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Being epistemically responsible requires an appreciation for both the power and the limitations of human knowledge, forming and adjusting one’s beliefs in a way that is responsive to the right criteria. Epistemic responsibility is needed among the populace as well as the elite for a functional democracy. It is also crucial for the understanding of science. However, without clear, shared norms of how best to form, adjust, and justify beliefs, we cannot hold each other epistemically accountable. In this dissertation, I explore how adolescents and adults conceive of the best practices for forming beliefs. Chapter 1 asks what criteria ...


The Democratic Standard Of Care In Tort Law, Gregory Jay Hall Jan 2017

The Democratic Standard Of Care In Tort Law, Gregory Jay Hall

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Social life is inherently risky. Who should bear the costs of accidental harm? That issue has been traditionally addressed in tort legal doctrine under the concept of breach of the negligence standard of care. Trial courts provide juries with instructions that, put roughly, direct the jury to decide whether the defendant’s conduct fell below what a reasonably prudent person would have done if in the defendant’s circumstances. Without further judicial direction on that issue, the jury effectively has excessive discretion in rendering a verdict. Such discretion, opens the door for at least two kinds of potential injustice. Juries ...


The Idea Of A Realistic Utopia, Collin Anthony Jan 2017

The Idea Of A Realistic Utopia, Collin Anthony

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

The purpose of this dissertation is to articulate the proper aims and limits of political philosophy by expanding upon John Rawls’s idea of a realistic utopia and applying it to various debates in contemporary political philosophy. First, I defend the importance of ideal theory in constructing a theory of justice and respond to various critics, such as Amartya Sen and others, who argue that ideal theory is neither necessary nor sufficient for our work to advance justice in society. Second, I argue that empirical facts must be included in our reasoning about fundamental principles of justice, contrary to theorists ...


What Movies Show: Realism, Perception And Truth In Film, Lindsey Fiorelli Jan 2016

What Movies Show: Realism, Perception And Truth In Film, Lindsey Fiorelli

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Film-viewing is a unique aesthetic experience, and it seems to possess a unique sort of tension. On the one hand, a film’s story seems to just be there before us: we’re directly presented with sights and sounds and can perceive the objects, people, and places depicted in the same sort of way we perceive things in the world. On the other hand, there’s an important sort of constructedness in film. Film-viewers have to cognize what’s represented by a film’s perceptual prompts; we have to bring our awareness of convention to understand shot-transitions and montage; and ...


Mimetologies: Aesthetic Politics In Early Modern Opera, Daniel Villegas Jan 2016

Mimetologies: Aesthetic Politics In Early Modern Opera, Daniel Villegas

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

In recent decades, mimesis has become a critical term for rethinking relationality, difference, and affect, reconsidered against the notions of artistic autonomy and representation. While music—and sound in general—seldom feature in these accounts, issues of musical autonomy and representation (aesthetic and political) in music studies have given way to a concern with immediacy, relationality, and vibration that bypass a revaluation of the discipline’s own accounts of mimesis, still understood largely as imitation. I propose a radical revision of mimesis away from its traditional understanding to bridge these various gaps and to reaffirm the necessity of thinking of ...


A Practical Theory Of Promising, Molly Beth Sinderbrand Jan 2016

A Practical Theory Of Promising, Molly Beth Sinderbrand

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

In this dissertation, I defend a “social-rights” account of promises. I argue that the essential common feature of promising practices is the transfer of a right to a future action from the promisor to the promisee. The transfer of the right relies on a social practice – specifically, a social norm. Using empirical evidence, I show that the practice of promising fits the definition of a social norm. I then use the theory of social norms to investigate why we are motivated to keep promises. The fact that a single theory can describe both normative foundations and motivation gives credence to ...


Sensing Sounding: Close Listening To Experimental Asian American Poetry, Ashley Chang Jan 2016

Sensing Sounding: Close Listening To Experimental Asian American Poetry, Ashley Chang

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This dissertation examines a selection of Asian American experimental poetries from the 1960’s to the present day through the sensory paradigms of avant-garde aesthetic discourse. By approaching both the poem and racial formation in sonic terms, this dissertation project argues that rethinking the sensory as well as the political ramifications of sounding can help us recuperate Asian American poets’ often overlooked experimentation with poetic form. Specifically, I read the works of Marilyn Chin, Theresa Cha, John Yau, Cathy Park Hong, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, and Tan Lin. By tracing the historical conditions of Orientalist objectification and re-interrogating postmodern theories of sight ...


Evidence And Formal Models In The Linguistic Sciences, Carlos Gray Santana Jan 2016

Evidence And Formal Models In The Linguistic Sciences, Carlos Gray Santana

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This dissertation contains a collection of essays centered on the relationship between theoretical model-building and empirical evidence-gathering in linguistics and related language sciences. The first chapter sets the stage by demonstrating that the subject matter of linguistics is manifold, and contending that discussion of relationships between linguistic models, evidence, and language itself depends on the subject matter at hand. The second chapter defends a restrictive account of scientific evidence. I make use of this account in the third chapter, in which I argue that if my account of scientific evidence is correct, then linguistic intuitions do not generally qualify as ...


Political Authority And Democracy, Douglas M. Weck Jan 2016

Political Authority And Democracy, Douglas M. Weck

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Political institutions and actors have a moral responsibility to secure the equal freedom of those subject to their rule. It is in virtue of that responsibility that political authorities can possess certain moral rights to rule. Here, I argue that such political authorities can possess moral rights to create and employ the positive law to secure equal freedom. In doing so, I will address a number of common problems that theories of political authority face, including the subjection problem, the problem of consent, and the particularity problem, among other things. I also present an account of the role that democracy ...


Epicurean Justice And Law, Jan Maximilian Robitzsch Jan 2016

Epicurean Justice And Law, Jan Maximilian Robitzsch

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This dissertation concerns a cluster of related issues surrounding the Epicurean conception of justice. First, I show that the Epicureans defend a sophisticated kind of social contract theory and maintain a kind of legal positivism, views that are widely held today and so are of continuing interest for contemporary readers. In doing so, I argue that thinking about justice and law forms an integral part of Epicurean philosophy (pace the standard view). Second, I take up some neglected issues regarding justice and so provide detailed accounts of the metaphysics of moral properties in Epicureanism as well as of Epicurean moral ...


Navigating The Tension Between Benevolence And Honesty: Essays On The Consequences Of Prosocial Lies, Emma Edelman Levine Jan 2016

Navigating The Tension Between Benevolence And Honesty: Essays On The Consequences Of Prosocial Lies, Emma Edelman Levine

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Many of our most common and difficult ethical dilemmas involve balancing honesty and benevolence. For example, when we deliver unpleasant news, such as negative feedback or terminal prognoses, we face an implicit tradeoff between being completely honest and being completely kind. Using a variety of research methods, in both the laboratory and the field, I study how individuals navigate this tension. Each chapter in this dissertation addresses the tension between honesty and benevolence at a different level. In Chapters One and Two, I examine how honesty and benevolence influence moral judgment. In Chapter Three, I explore how honesty and benevolence ...


Data Epistemologies / Surveillance And Uncertainty, Sun Ha Hong Jan 2016

Data Epistemologies / Surveillance And Uncertainty, Sun Ha Hong

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Data Epistemologies studies the changing ways in which ‘knowledge’ is defined, promised, problematised, legitimated vis-á-vis the advent of digital, ‘big’ data surveillance technologies in early twenty-first century America. As part of the period’s fascination with ‘new’ media and ‘big’ data, such technologies intersect ambitious claims to better knowledge with a problematisation of uncertainty. This entanglement, I argue, results in contextual reconfigurations of what ‘counts’ as knowledge and who (or what) is granted authority to produce it – whether it involves proving that indiscriminate domestic surveillance prevents terrorist attacks, to arguing that machinic sensors can know us better than we can ...


Platonic Reflections In Apuleius, Jeffrey Peter Ulrich Jan 2016

Platonic Reflections In Apuleius, Jeffrey Peter Ulrich

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Apuleius is often considered to be a Latin sophist, a master of narratological and hermeneutic games, with no particular philosophical agenda. But complexity and playfulness are not necessarily synonymous with intellectual or moral emptiness. Indeed, Apuleius’ self-proclaimed Platonism links him to a figure whose very choice of medium, the dialogue, always plays philosophical games with the reader. This dissertation shows that Apuleius engages with Plato on a deeper level than has previously been thought, framing both his own texts and those of Plato in terms of a high-stakes choice to the reader in the spirit of the ‘choice of Heracles ...


The Influence Of Culture On Senior Leaders As They Seek To Resolve Ethical Dilemmas At Work, Thomas Christopher Mclaverty Jan 2016

The Influence Of Culture On Senior Leaders As They Seek To Resolve Ethical Dilemmas At Work, Thomas Christopher Mclaverty

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This dissertation explores some of the difficulties that arise when using the cognitive development model to explain ethical behaviour in the world of work. An alternative theoretical position is explored, one that was originally developed in anthropology by Richard Shweder and Jonathan Haidt. This position asserts that ethical behaviour is not universal, it is instead highly contextual and may be influenced by both organisational and ethnic/national culture. The influence of culture on ethical behaviour is explored using narrative research techniques. The research is based on thirty in depth interviews with senior executives who frequently faced ethical dilemmas at work ...


Experiments, Simulations, And Lessons From Experimental Evolution, Emily Parke Jan 2015

Experiments, Simulations, And Lessons From Experimental Evolution, Emily Parke

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Philosophers and scientists have sought to draw methodological distinctions among different kinds of experiments, and between experimentation and other scientific methodologies. This dissertation focuses on two such cases: hypothesis-testing versus exploratory experiments, and experiment versus simulation. I draw on examples from experimental evolution--evolving organisms in a controlled laboratory setting to study evolution via natural selection in real time--to challenge the way we think about these distinctions. In the case of hypothesis-testing versus exploratory experiments, philosophers have distinguished these categories in terms of the role of theory in experiment. I discuss examples from experimental evolution which occupy the poorly characterized middle ...