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2016

Western University

Articles 1 - 19 of 19

Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Varieties Of Objectivity: What's Worth Keeping?, Lori Kantymir Nov 2016

Varieties Of Objectivity: What's Worth Keeping?, Lori Kantymir

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

This dissertation addresses the problem of whether or not morality can be objective. Objectivity seems built into our everyday moral discourse and practice, yet it can be difficult to say just what moral objectivity consists in. There is significant disagreement in the philosophical literature on this topic. I examine three influential contemporary accounts of objectivity: Derek Parfit’s non-naturalist realism, Sharon Street’s anti-realist constructivism, and Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons’ cognitivist expressivism. Despite their differences, these authors share a common aim: to defend the idea that the truth of moral claims are at least in some sense invariant with ...


Species Pluralism: Conceptual, Ontological, And Practical Dimensions, Justin Bzovy Nov 2016

Species Pluralism: Conceptual, Ontological, And Practical Dimensions, Justin Bzovy

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Species are central to biology, but there is currently no agreement on what the adequate species concept should be, and many have adopted a pluralist stance: different species concepts will be required for different purposes. This thesis is a multidimensional analysis of species pluralism. First I explicate how pluralism differs monism and relativism. I then consider the history of species pluralism. I argue that we must re-frame the species problem, and that re-evaluating Aristotle's role in the histories of systematics can shed light on pluralism. Next I consider different forms of pluralism: evolutionary and extra-evolutionary species pluralism, which differ ...


The Primacy Of Resistance: Anarchism, Foucault, And The Art Of Not Being Governed, Derek C. Barnett Nov 2016

The Primacy Of Resistance: Anarchism, Foucault, And The Art Of Not Being Governed, Derek C. Barnett

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Beginning with a critical inquiry into the reasons why the field of the political is traditionally elaborated in the archic nexus between government and state sovereignty, this study examines the possibilities of elaborating an alternative theory of the political in the intersections between Michel Foucault’s theory of resistance and anarchist political theory. Taking Foucault’s fifth thesis on power from The History of Sexuality as an alternative paradigm from which to reread the history of the political, the aim of this study is to demonstrate that the hallmark of Foucault’s work emerges in the ways in which his ...


In-Between What Once Was And What Is Yet To Come: On The Phenomena Of Bereavement And Grieving, Rachel L B Bath Sep 2016

In-Between What Once Was And What Is Yet To Come: On The Phenomena Of Bereavement And Grieving, Rachel L B Bath

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

When a significant other dies, our lives can be shattered and our worlds upended. We may find that we no longer know how to make sense of our experiences or how to engage in our practical activities. Nothing can be as it was before because the world as we once knew it has ended, and we are no longer the same persons we once were. Nonetheless this ending opens up something new because the death of the other changes the possibilities of our lived world. A phenomenological analysis of the phenomena of grief and bereavement reveals that while bereavement undermines ...


Living Perception In Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Mary Mclevey Sep 2016

Living Perception In Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Mary Mclevey

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

This thesis examines the philosophical underpinnings of the possibility to perceive in different ways, with a particular attention to Merleau-Ponty's account of perception as inseparable from the wider arc of a person's embodied existence. Chapter 1 reflects on the relationship between Merleau-Ponty's description of the co-existence of the senses, and concrete ways that individual perceivers co-exist. Chapter 2 brings Merleau-Ponty's account of perception as a field of lived relationships, into conversation with the contingency of perceptual limits. Chapter 3 examines the significance of Merleau-Ponty's attention to experiences of synaesthesia and proposes concrete ways that a ...


Free Play: Removing Barriers To Athletic Self-Expression In Sport, Matthew R. Waddell Aug 2016

Free Play: Removing Barriers To Athletic Self-Expression In Sport, Matthew R. Waddell

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

The choice of what sport to play and the manner in which a person plays it has moral content and represents values that are personally meaningful to the individual athlete. However, due to the hegemonic influence of the concept of fair play, athletes do not have control over, or freedom of expression within, their chosen sports. This has additional and harmful ramifications for those currently excluded from communities of sport practice because the rules of sporting contests have very little flexibility to allow for participant directed change. A rights-based conception of sport encourages athletes to engage in ‘civil disobedience’ within ...


Similarity, Adequacy, And Purpose: Understanding The Success Of Scientific Models, Melissa Jacquart Aug 2016

Similarity, Adequacy, And Purpose: Understanding The Success Of Scientific Models, Melissa Jacquart

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

A central component to scientific practice is the construction and use of scientific models. Scientists believe that the success of a model justifies making claims that go beyond the model itself. However, philosophical analysis of models suggests that drawing inferences about the world from successful models is more complex. In this dissertation I develop a framework that can help disentangle the related strands of evaluation of model success, model extendibility, and the ability to draw ampliative inferences about the world from models.

I present and critically assess two leading accounts of model assessment, arguing that neither is sufficient to provide ...


The Entelechial Thinker In Space: ‘Worlds Within Worlds’ In Durrell, Flaubert, And Carroll, Sheena M. Jary Aug 2016

The Entelechial Thinker In Space: ‘Worlds Within Worlds’ In Durrell, Flaubert, And Carroll, Sheena M. Jary

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

This thesis argues that the interior space of each individual mind has infinite potentiality to do or create x new reality in one’s life via possible worlds. I use Lawrence Durrell’s short story “Zero” (1939), Gustave Flaubert’s “Un coeur simple” (1877), and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) as literary representations of how readers outside of the literary text share an unbreakable bond with universal space. I discuss the infinite potentiality of the finite being, and the experiential data in the process of entelechy, or epistemological maturation of the mind. I bring Leibniz’s ...


Bodies: Punk, Love And Marxism, Kathryn Grant Jul 2016

Bodies: Punk, Love And Marxism, Kathryn Grant

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

This thesis returns love to the purview of Marxism and punk, which had attempted to ban the interpersonal in respective critiques of abstractions. Love-as-sense—as it is figured by Marx— will be distinguished from the love-of-love-songs, and from commodity fetishism and alienation, which relate to this recuperated love qua perception or experience. As its musical output exhibited residue of free love’s failure, and cited sixties pop which characterized love as mutual ownership, American and British punk from 1976-80 will be analyzed for its interrogation of commodified love. An introductory chapter will define love as an aesthetic activity and organize ...


The Moral Status And Welfare Of Patients Diagnosed As Vegetative With Covert Awareness, Mackenzie S. Graham Jul 2016

The Moral Status And Welfare Of Patients Diagnosed As Vegetative With Covert Awareness, Mackenzie S. Graham

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Several neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that a minority of patients diagnosed as being in the vegetative state are able to modulate their brain activity in response to the commands of researchers, thus demonstrating that they are ‘covertly aware.’ I examine the moral significance of this discovery, with a specific focus on the implications for patient welfare. I argue that the presence of awareness in these patients is important because it allows for the presence of sentience—the capacity for suffering and enjoyment—which I argue is a sufficient condition for moral status. Insofar as these patients have moral status, their ...


Assessing Decision-Making Capacity After Severe Brain Injury, Andrew Peterson Jul 2016

Assessing Decision-Making Capacity After Severe Brain Injury, Andrew Peterson

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Severe brain injury is a leading cause of death and disability. Following severe brain injury diagnosis is difficult and errors frequently occur. Recent findings in clinical neuroscience may offer a solution. Neuroimaging has been used to detect preserved cognitive function and awareness in some patients clinically diagnosed as being in a vegetative state. Remarkably, neuroimaging has also been used to communicate with some vegetative patients through a series of yes/no questions. Some have speculated that, one day, this method may allow severely brain-injured patients to make medical decisions. Yet, skepticism is rife, due in part to the inherent difficulty ...


The Constellations Of Empiricism, New Science, And Mind In Hobbes, Locke, And Hume, Lisa Pelot Apr 2016

The Constellations Of Empiricism, New Science, And Mind In Hobbes, Locke, And Hume, Lisa Pelot

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

In this thesis, positive and negative tensions among the “unit-ideas” of New Science and empiricism are explored as they relate to explanations of aspects of mind in the Modern period. Some constellations of ideas are mutually supporting, and provide fruitful discussion on how mind can fit into the natural world. This project aims to clarify the adequacy of this type of framework in accommodating and explaining mind, and aspects of mind. I proceed by analyzing key texts via the “unit-ideas” of New Science and empiricism. The three central chapters are case studies, looking at Hobbes, Locke, and Hume. Each chapter ...


Evaluating The Quantum Postulate In The Context Of Pursuit, Molly M. Kao Apr 2016

Evaluating The Quantum Postulate In The Context Of Pursuit, Molly M. Kao

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

The purpose of this dissertation is to contribute to our understanding of scientific theory pursuit by providing a detailed case study on the development of early quantum theory, from roughly 1900 to 1916.

I first elaborate on why this case should be considered an instance of piecemeal pursuit by presenting the historical quantum conjectures that were being used in different contexts. These conjectures gave varied interpretations of quantization. By comparing these conjectures, I identify a general quantum postulate that captures the underlying assumption common to all the cases. I argue that it is possible to consider a general postulate about ...


A Pure Representationalist Account Of Belief And Desire, Stephen Pearce Apr 2016

A Pure Representationalist Account Of Belief And Desire, Stephen Pearce

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

According to the traditional view, beliefs and desires are mental representations that play particular functional roles. A belief that P is state which represents P and plays the belief-role, while a desire that P is a state which represents that P and plays the desire-role. In this dissertation I argue that the traditional view has trouble accounting for (a) role that belief and desire play in the causal and rational explanation of behaviour and (b) our knowledge of our own conscious, occurrent beliefs and desires. In its place I argue for Pure Attitude Representationalism (PAR), which holds that beliefs and ...


On The Role Of Mathematics In Scientific Representation, Saad Anis Feb 2016

On The Role Of Mathematics In Scientific Representation, Saad Anis

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

In this dissertation, I consider from a philosophical perspective three related questions concerning the contribution of mathematics to scientific representation. In answering these questions, I propose and defend Carnapian frameworks for examination into the nature and role of mathematics in science.

The first research question concerns the varied ways in which mathematics contributes to scientific representation. In response, I consider in Chapter 2 two recent philosophical proposals claiming to account for the explanatory role of mathematics in science, by Philip Kitcher, and Otavio Bueno and Mark Colyvan. My novel and detailed critique of these accounts shows that they are too ...


Tesitmony As Significance Negotiation, Jennifer F. Epp Feb 2016

Tesitmony As Significance Negotiation, Jennifer F. Epp

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

This dissertation addresses the following questions: How should epistemologists conceptualize testimony? What do people use testimony to do? And why does ‘what people do’ with testimony matter epistemically? In response to these questions I both define and characterize testimony.

While doing so I argue for the following answers, given here very briefly: What do people do when they testify? They tell each other things and avow that those things are true, offering their statements to others as reasons to believe. More importantly, they interact with each other in order to negotiate about significance. Why do these activities matter epistemically? Because ...


Skepticism As Epistemic Naturalization, Dylan Vallance Jan 2016

Skepticism As Epistemic Naturalization, Dylan Vallance

2016 Undergraduate Awards

Responses to radical philosophical skepticism often interpret skeptical arguments as conceptual challenges that must be overcome if common epistemic practices are to remain justifiably practicable. Such responses treat skeptical arguments as attacks on our ability to justifiably make knowledge claims, wherein the skeptic attempts to isolate conceptual problems embedded in common epistemic processes that debar those processes from the potential to produce knowledge. In this framework, the successful skeptic reveals our constitutional epistemic blindness while the successful response defangs the skeptic’s attack on our capacity for knowledge.

This paper argues that this interpretation is predicated on a fundamental misunderstanding ...


Closing The Representational Gap: An Embodied-Enactive View Of Narcissistic Representational Systems, Victor Parchment Jan 2016

Closing The Representational Gap: An Embodied-Enactive View Of Narcissistic Representational Systems, Victor Parchment

2016 Undergraduate Awards

According to tracking theories of mental content, the world we conceive is determined by the world we perceive, and the world we perceive is determined by the mind-independent world as it is. This view is challenged by Kathleen Akins on the grounds that our sensory systems are narcissistic, i.e., they have narrow operational interests and are largely unconcerned with representing objective reality. Yet, if what we conceive is not a veridical representation of the world, how is object-guided action in the world possible? This disconnect is the “representational gap”. This paper will close this gap by arguing that Akins ...


Aristotle's Clivus Naturae, John Thorp Jan 2016

Aristotle's Clivus Naturae, John Thorp

Philosophy Presentations

It is usually thought that Aristotle's understanding of the soul sees it has having four distinct parts, cumulatively arranged, resulting in a kind of scala or ladder: all living things have the nutritive and reproductive soul; animals have, in addition, the sensitive soul, and most of them also the locomotive soul; only humans have all these plus the intellective soul. This ladder-like picture emerges from his theoretical work de Anima. In his more empirical studies, though, the discreteness of these levels is softened, and the image is more that of a clivus or slope, rather than a scala or ...