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2016

Theses and Dissertations

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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Eternal And Expansive Super Necessitarianism: A New Interpretation Of Spinoza's Metaphysics, Hannibal Jackson Dec 2016

Eternal And Expansive Super Necessitarianism: A New Interpretation Of Spinoza's Metaphysics, Hannibal Jackson

Theses and Dissertations

A key issue concerning the views of Spinoza is whether he is a necessitarian or if he allows for the existence of possibilities. Commentators on Spinoza agree that his metaphysics revolve around, at the very least, a deterministic universe in which the laws of nature, together with all preceding causes, determine everything that occurs. There is also agreement that Spinoza does allow for doxastic (or epistemic) possibility, which involves humans being able to imagine different outcomes based on inadequate knowledge of preceding causes. For instance, humans can imagine a particular car existing or not existing. The divide among commentators occurs ...


Grounding Deliberative Contractualism, Michael Hogan Dec 2016

Grounding Deliberative Contractualism, Michael Hogan

Theses and Dissertations

Contractualism is often seen as a kind of self-interested bargaining in which individuals engage to preserve their own desired outcome. If individuals are only out for themselves, then no one achieves his or her desired end. Yet, if individuals constrain some of their desires and are assured that others will do the same, then, the contractors can avoid mutual destruction. It is not hard to see why Contractualism is often viewed as a way to explain the origins of morality within civil society. In this paper, I take up a version of Contractualism espoused by Nicholas Southwood called Deliberative Contractualism ...


An Investigation Into Hybrid Models Of Mindreading: A Dual Type Theory Account, Alexandra Jewell Dec 2016

An Investigation Into Hybrid Models Of Mindreading: A Dual Type Theory Account, Alexandra Jewell

Theses and Dissertations

Mindreading, or attributing mental states to others, involves instances of simulation and theory; but there is controversy over which one of these methods is the primary, or default, mechanism. I propose that mindreading is a theory-based process, such that we utilize theory over simulation when both are available and reliable. To argue my position, I suggest that theory has been inaccurately portrayed in past discussion and that we possess two types: a connectionist network (tt1) and a traditional, conceptual folk-psychology (tt2). By dividing theory in this way, we can explain common phenomena of mindreading that other theory-based accounts do not ...


Nietzsche's Autonomy, Responsibility, And Will Unification, Waylon Jennings Smith Aug 2016

Nietzsche's Autonomy, Responsibility, And Will Unification, Waylon Jennings Smith

Theses and Dissertations

The modern analytic’s conception of morality usually grounds the agent’s mo-rality in some conception of responsibility and autonomy. Friedrich Nietzsche agrees that morality should be grounded in responsibility and autonomy, however his con-ceptions of responsibility and autonomy are quite different from the modern analytic literature. In this paper, I present Nietzsche’s account of autonomy and responsibility. In part one, I describe Nietzsche’s beliefs about human nature and how the human psyche became disparate. The sovereign individual is also introduced as the Nie-tzschean ideal capable of autonomy and responsibility. The second part of the paper refines Nietzshce ...


Nietzsche And Problem Of Nihilism, Zahra Meyboti Aug 2016

Nietzsche And Problem Of Nihilism, Zahra Meyboti

Theses and Dissertations

It is generally accepted that life-affirmation is central to Nietzsche’s philosophy.

Nietzsche’s aim is to affirm life despite all miseries for human beings conscious of the

horror and terror of existence and avoid nihilism. He is concerned with life affirmation

almost in all of his works, In my thesis I will consider how he involved with avoiding

nihilism to affirm life according to his two books, The Birth of Tragedy and Genealogy of

Morals.


Locutionary Disablement And Epistemic Injustice, Dana Elizabeth Grabelsky Aug 2016

Locutionary Disablement And Epistemic Injustice, Dana Elizabeth Grabelsky

Theses and Dissertations

In this paper, I investigate how the notion of epistemic injustice relates to two distinct, though not incompatible, models of the phenomenon of silencing: epistemic and linguistic. I argue that a linguistic model of silencing can be used to elucidate the nature of hermeneutical injustice—a type of epistemic injustice identified by Miranda Fricker. I put forth my own reformulation of the linguistic model of silencing as locutionary (as opposed to illocutionary) disablement, when it occurs in cases of hermeneutical injustice, and I argue that this reformulation can respond to the criticism that Fricker’s construal of hermeneutical injustice falls ...


Dissolving Some Dilemmas For Acquaintance Foundationalism, Ryan Daniel Cobb Aug 2016

Dissolving Some Dilemmas For Acquaintance Foundationalism, Ryan Daniel Cobb

Theses and Dissertations

This essay purports to be a “negative” defense of acquaintance foundationalism. It is “negative” in that I do not do much in the way of advancing novel argument for the position, nor do I extend the position very much. Rather, I focus on demonstrating that the position has the resources to overcome objections that have been proposed to it. In particular, I argue that it can overcome the dilemma proposed by Wilfrid Sellars and developed by Laurence BonJour against foundationalism, as well as dilemmas proposed by Jack Lyons and Michael Bergmann targeting internalism.

Acquaintance foundationalism is what I will call ...


Knowledge, Infallibility, And Skepticism, Gregory Douglas Stoutenburg Aug 2016

Knowledge, Infallibility, And Skepticism, Gregory Douglas Stoutenburg

Theses and Dissertations

I argue that to know that a proposition is true one must have justification for being certain that the proposition is true. That is, one must have infallible epistemic justification for believing the proposition. It is widely accepted among epistemologists that we rarely, if ever, have such strong justification for our beliefs. It follows that there is precious little that we know. That conclusion is unacceptable to many philosophers. I argue that the positions that lead to the skeptical conclusion are well-motivated and that the skeptical conclusion is implicitly accepted by ordinary speakers.

My dissertation has three main components: a ...


Contra Lewisian Naturalness, Dylan Abney Aug 2016

Contra Lewisian Naturalness, Dylan Abney

Theses and Dissertations

Some ways of talking or thinking about the world are better than others. Most obviously, it is often better to say or believe true things rather than false things. Perhaps less obvious is the notion that our speech and thought ought to, or often in fact does, reflect the natural formation or structure of the world. This idea—that we ought to be carving the world at its natural joints—can be found at least as far back as Plato’s Phaedrus. More recently, we can see a related idea in the work of David Lewis. In “New Work for ...


An Inquiry Into The Distinction Between Belief And Imagination, Maxwell M. Gatyas Aug 2016

An Inquiry Into The Distinction Between Belief And Imagination, Maxwell M. Gatyas

Theses and Dissertations

Theories of mind typically see belief and imagination as distinct cognitive attitudes. While most admit that imagination is belief-like in many ways—e.g. in its capacity to guide action, cause emotional responses, and aid in decision-making processes—the popular view is to separate the two attitudes when constructing a theory of mental architecture. The similarities are not enough for theorists to admit that the two attitudes are indistinct. Imagination, then, is construed as an “analogue” of belief, similar in many ways, but nevertheless fundamentally different. In what follows I examine these methods of distinguishing between belief and imagination. My ...


Biocentrism In Environmental Ethics: Questions Of Inherent Worth, Etiology, And Teleofunctional Interests, David Lewis Rice Iii Aug 2016

Biocentrism In Environmental Ethics: Questions Of Inherent Worth, Etiology, And Teleofunctional Interests, David Lewis Rice Iii

Theses and Dissertations

Some biocentrists argue that all living things have "inherent worth". Anything that has inherent worth has interests that provide a reason for why all moral agents should care about it in and of itself. There are, however, some difficulties for biocentric individualist arguments which claim that all living things have inherent worth.

Some biocentrists maintain that all living things have inherent worth and that artificial living things do not because the former, but not the latter, have interests by recourse to their natural selection etiology. Some also argue that synthetic forms of life do not have moral standing because they ...


Divine Ideas For Metaphysical Realism, Michelle Lynn Panchuk Jun 2016

Divine Ideas For Metaphysical Realism, Michelle Lynn Panchuk

Theses and Dissertations

In recent years more and more theist philosophers have turned their attention to an apparent tension between the existence of abstract universals and the God of classical monotheisms. In this project I argue that this tension can be relieved by adopting a Neo-Augustinian account of universals. When the doctrine of creation ex nihilo is given sufficient place within one’s theory, divine concepts can do all of the work for which abstract universals are usually posited. Over the course of 5 chapters, I argue that the problem of universals, at base, requires a theory of properties as its solution; that ...


Reformulating Modalism, Aaron Webb Arinder May 2016

Reformulating Modalism, Aaron Webb Arinder

Theses and Dissertations

In accounting for something’s essence, the features it must have are good candidates for being essential to it. Call this view modalism. Kit Fine (1994) raises some objections to modalism, and I respond by reformulating it in a way that avoids those objections. My reformulation makes use of grounding identities, and it is on better footing than two recent reformulations of modalism by Nathan Wildman (2013) and David Denby (2014). The claim that something grounds a thing’s identity is controversial, and so I develop an argument for it showing that the identities of things are grounded in either ...


Neoliberal Darlings: The Commodification Of Grotesque Children In Contemporary Comics And Literature, Mark Heimermann May 2016

Neoliberal Darlings: The Commodification Of Grotesque Children In Contemporary Comics And Literature, Mark Heimermann

Theses and Dissertations

This dissertation analyzes grotesque depictions of children in contemporary, speculative comics and literature: Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth, Ben Marcus’ The Flame Alphabet, and Richard Starkings’ Elephantmen. It argues that the grotesque in these texts embodies the tension between children as economic objects and children as social beings, as the protagonists’ nonhuman elements are used to justify their commodification. Because commodification metaphorically transforms people into hybrids, part human/part commodity, the grotesque, with its emphasis on hybrid forms and ontological destabilization, is uniquely suited for representing this tension ...


Earning The Right Means Paying The Costs: Metaphysical Problems For Quasi-Realism, William Albuquerque May 2016

Earning The Right Means Paying The Costs: Metaphysical Problems For Quasi-Realism, William Albuquerque

Theses and Dissertations

Quasi-realism is a metaethical program seeking to 'earn the right' to realist moral discourse without positing mind-independent moral properties and facts. However, Sharon Street argues that if quasi-realism successfully captures realist discourse, it will find itself equally susceptible to the same objections as ordinary moral realism. But although Street argues extensively that epistemological challenges will carry over to quasi-realism, more argumentation is necessary to establish that quasi-realism is also vulnerable to metaphysical challenges. In this paper, I evaluate whether quasi-realism is susceptible to metaphysical challenges to moral realism by applying a particular metaphysical objection – J.L. Mackie's 'argument from ...


Attitudinal Commitments And The Scope Of Rational Requirements, Anwar Ul Haq May 2016

Attitudinal Commitments And The Scope Of Rational Requirements, Anwar Ul Haq

Theses and Dissertations

In this paper I propose an account of attitudinal commitments which flow from avowed beliefs and intentions. I distinguish my account from Thomas Scanlon’s account of attitudinal commitments on which our beliefs about normative reasons are the source of these commitments. In my view, attitudinal commitments result from avowal of certain attitudes and are best understood in terms of the attitudinal integrity of agents with respect to those attitudes. Rationality, I argue, is a matter of maintaining coherence among our attitudes in ways sensitive to the attitudinal commitments we undertake.

My account of attitudinal commitments makes room for progress ...


Inference To The Best Explanation And The Challenge Of Skepticism, Bryan C. Appley May 2016

Inference To The Best Explanation And The Challenge Of Skepticism, Bryan C. Appley

Theses and Dissertations

In this dissertation I consider the problem of external world skepticism and attempts at providing an argument to the best explanation against it.

In chapter one I consider several different ways of formulating the crucial skeptical argument, settling on an argument that centers on the question of whether we're justified in believing propositions about the external world. I then consider and reject several options for getting around this issue which I take to be inadequate. I finally conclude that the best option available to us at the moment is to argue that the antiskeptical view is the best explanation ...


What Motive To Virtue? Early Modern Empirical Naturalist Theories Of Moral Obligation, Brady John Hoback May 2016

What Motive To Virtue? Early Modern Empirical Naturalist Theories Of Moral Obligation, Brady John Hoback

Theses and Dissertations

In this dissertation, I argue for a set of interpretations regarding the relationship between moral obligation and reasons for acting in the theories of Hobbes, Hutcheson, and Hume. Several commentators have noted affinities between these naturalist moral theories and contemporary ethical internalism. I argue that attempts to locate internalist theses in these figures are not entirely successful in any clear way. I follow Stephen Darwall's suggestion that addressing the question “why be moral?” is one of the fundamental problems of modern moral philosophy. Since, as some have argued, there is a tension between accepting internalism and providing an adequate ...


The Principle Of Dong Zhongshu's Omen Discourse And Wang Chong's Criticism Of Heaven's Reprimand In The Chapter “Qian Gao”, Xun Yang May 2016

The Principle Of Dong Zhongshu's Omen Discourse And Wang Chong's Criticism Of Heaven's Reprimand In The Chapter “Qian Gao”, Xun Yang

Theses and Dissertations

Omen discourse, the investigation of aberrant natural disasters and miraculous celestial phenomena, provided a sophisticated ideological model that could be exploited to expostulate with the sovereign for his transgressions, and to denounce the misgovernment of the imperial bureaucracy. The first of this political model is the personification of the supreme Heaven and the elevation of Heaven’s status. From the perspective of ru 儒 (Confucians) scholars, the establishment of Heaven’s supreme authority upon the human realm and the restriction of the sovereign in power guarantee the rectification of political mistakes as well as an applicable way for ru scholars ...


Catching All Passions In His Craft Of Will: Portraits And Pater In Oscar Wilde’S “The Portrait Of Mr. W. H.”, Rebecca E. Jones Jan 2016

Catching All Passions In His Craft Of Will: Portraits And Pater In Oscar Wilde’S “The Portrait Of Mr. W. H.”, Rebecca E. Jones

Theses and Dissertations

This thesis examines Oscar Wilde’s “The Portrait of Mr. W. H.” as the product of Wilde’s long interest in critic Walter Pater’s literature and scholarship. From its first iteration published in 1889, through Wilde’s ongoing revision and expansion into the version commonly anthologized today, “The Portrait of Mr. W. H.” is an evolving work that mirrors Wilde’s enduring relationship with the art and ideas of his former teacher. This relationship is explored in three contexts: Pater’s contribution to Wilde’s understanding of the Renaissance period; the steady influence of Pater’s ideas and persona ...


Antithetical Commentaries On X, Y And The Disruption Of Being, Eva Rocha Jan 2016

Antithetical Commentaries On X, Y And The Disruption Of Being, Eva Rocha

Theses and Dissertations

Through discursive essays and poetic narrative, Antithetical Commentaries on X, Y and the Disruption of Being explores the tenuous relationship between modes of measurement and the struggle for human relevance in the post-contemporary digital age. In the introductory essay, “Not the Feather, but the Bird”, I give an overview of the inherent problems of object-oriented ontology, and how it relates to aesthetics and social issues of our times. In the Developmental Overview, I detail how I developed my installation approach and techniques, particularly with regard to the three-way dynamic of the artist:work:viewer relationship and how it can encourage ...


Hume’S Practical Conciliation Of Science And Skepticism, Nathan I. Sasser Jan 2016

Hume’S Practical Conciliation Of Science And Skepticism, Nathan I. Sasser

Theses and Dissertations

This dissertation addresses the question of whether David Hume is an epistemic skeptic about core beliefs—beliefs that are practically indispensible for life and science. On the one hand, Hume claims to be a skeptic, but on the other hand, he carries on with ordinary life and with a constructive program of research. The relationship of his science and skepticism remains a central and contested question in the literature.

I offer a practical conciliation of Hume’s science and skepticism. On my reading, Hume really is an epistemic skeptic about core beliefs. However, he thinks that we are practically permitted ...


The Virtue Of Truthfulness And The Military Profession: Reconciling Honesty With The Requirement To Deceive During War, John W. Bauer Jan 2016

The Virtue Of Truthfulness And The Military Profession: Reconciling Honesty With The Requirement To Deceive During War, John W. Bauer

Theses and Dissertations

The U.S. military regards truthfulness as a virtue, a quality captured in the terms ‘honor’ and ‘integrity.’ At the same time, military doctrine does little to hide the fact that military operations should endeavor to deceive the enemy. How can these two ideas, seemingly in conflict with each other, be reconciled? This dissertation examines the viability of the absolutist claim implicit in the term ‘truthfulness’ – namely, that to be truth-full, one must never lie, even to one’s enemies. In order for this absolute prohibition to be consistent with certain instances of allowable deception, lying and truthfulness, I argue ...


Narrative And The Reconfiguration Of The Humanist Subject In Robbe-Grillet, Ballard, And Ligotti, Zachary L. Acosta-Lewis Jan 2016

Narrative And The Reconfiguration Of The Humanist Subject In Robbe-Grillet, Ballard, And Ligotti, Zachary L. Acosta-Lewis

Theses and Dissertations

This thesis examines the utility of the novels, short stories, critical writing, and generically indistinct work of Alain Robbe-Grillet, J.G. Ballard, and Thomas Ligotti in developing a critique of the contemporary manifestations of liberal humanist social, economic, and political subjectivities. To this end, the concurrence of formal fragmentation and sublime aesthetics in early Gothic fiction models the manner in which narrative structures can appropriate structural tropes of dominant institutions, critically reflecting ideological fracture. Read according to the assemblative approach outlined by Deleuze and Guattari, these authors serve as a productive and incisive response to the hegemony of capitalist territorialization ...