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2016

University of Pennsylvania

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Articles 1 - 15 of 15

Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

A Constitutional Political Economy Perspective On The Colonization Of Mars, Shashank Sirivolu Apr 2016

A Constitutional Political Economy Perspective On The Colonization Of Mars, Shashank Sirivolu

Honors Theses (PPE)

NASA has released an account of the agency's plans for a mission to Mars. Private organizations, like SpaceX, too have expressed a goal to visit or, in some cases, even establish settlements on Mars. Yet the prospect of establishing settlements, that is, colonizing - as opposed to simply exploring - raises a number of issues. The focus of this study is on the emergence of institutions and organizations on an extraterrestrial planet like Mars. Specifically, the thesis will explore the conscious design of organizations and institutions of collective action, from the Constitutional Political Economy perspective.


Morton, Gould, And Bias: A Comment On "The Mismeasure Of Science", Michael Weisberg, Diane B. Paul Apr 2016

Morton, Gould, And Bias: A Comment On "The Mismeasure Of Science", Michael Weisberg, Diane B. Paul

Departmental Papers (Philosophy)

Stephen Jay Gould famously used the work of Samuel George Morton (1799–1851) to illustrate how unconscious racial bias could affect scientific measurement. Morton had published measurements of the average cranial capacities of different races, measurements that Gould reanalyzed in an article in Science [1] and then later in his widely read book The Mismeasure of Man [2]. During the course of this reanalysis, Gould discovered prima facie evidence of unconscious racial bias in Morton’s measurements. More than 30 years later, Lewis et al. published a critique of this analysis [3], denying that Morton’s measurements were biased by ...


Common Knowledge: Epistemology And The Beginnings Of Copyright Law, Jonathan Scott Enderle Mar 2016

Common Knowledge: Epistemology And The Beginnings Of Copyright Law, Jonathan Scott Enderle

Scholarship at Penn Libraries

Literary critics’ engagement with copyright law has often emphasized ontological questions about the relation between idealized texts and their material embodiments. This essay turns toward a different set of questions—about the role of texts in the communication of knowledge. Developing an alternative intellectual genealogy of copyright law grounded in the eighteenth-century contest between innatism and empiricism, I argue that jurists like William Blackstone and poets like Edward Young drew on Locke’s theories of ideas to articulate a new understanding of writing as uncommunicative expression. Innatists understood texts as tools that could enable transparent communication through a shared stock ...


Modeling, Michael Weisberg Jan 2016

Modeling, Michael Weisberg

Departmental Papers (Philosophy)

This article focuses on the methodology of modeling and how it can be applied to philosophical questions. It looks at various traditional views of modeling and defends the idea that modeling is a form of surrogate reasoning involving two distinct steps: indirect representation of a target system using a model and analysis of that model. The article considers different accounts of model/target representational relations, defending an account of similarity. It concludes by presenting several examples of the use of models in philosophy, suggestions for philosophers new to modeling, and an assessment of the relationship between thought experiments and models.


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...