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2016

Theses/Dissertations

University of Colorado, Boulder

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Articles 1 - 19 of 19

Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Una-Sola-Cosa: The Violence Of Aesthetics In Mao Ii And Estrella Distante, Erin Briana Cousins Jan 2016

Una-Sola-Cosa: The Violence Of Aesthetics In Mao Ii And Estrella Distante, Erin Briana Cousins

Comparative Literature Graduate Theses & Dissertations

This thesis explores the relationship between aesthetics and violence in Don DeLillo’s Mao II and Roberto Bolaño’s Estrella distante. Though each text’s central characters begin with an attachment to an idealized narrative of modern artistry, I argue that these idealizations are based on a conflation of literal and metaphorical violence. Such a conflation allows these characters to value violence purely for its ability to impact sense perception, forming what I call an aesthetic violence. By conflating literal and metaphorical violence into the aesthetic, I argue, each character is able to ignore the asymmetrical power dynamics inherent to ...


Conservation Ethics: An Obligation-Centered Approach, Alexander Philip Lee Jan 2016

Conservation Ethics: An Obligation-Centered Approach, Alexander Philip Lee

Environmental Studies Graduate Theses & Dissertations

Environmental ethics has generally taken up nature conservation as an issue of environmental value: we ought to protect nature to protect value in nature. This value-centered conservation ethic raises three categories of problems: theoretical challenges over the commensurability and substitutability of environmental value; discursive hurdles with how we talk about conservation; and practical problems with how conservationists put philosophical tools into actions. I investigate these problems in concert to show how obligations provide a plausible alternative account of why and how we ought to protect the natural world. This dissertation argues first that a value-centered approach has overwhelmingly been used ...


Folk Filmmaking, Adam Perou Hermans Amir Jan 2016

Folk Filmmaking, Adam Perou Hermans Amir

Environmental Studies Graduate Theses & Dissertations

Wildlife conservationists often come into conflict with local communities. To resolve conflict, conservationists conduct education and sensitization programs to raise awareness and teach the value of wildlife. This “missionary approach” raises issues of epistemic and social injustice. Just as conservation often requires local communities to relinquish sovereignty over land and natural resources, conservation education challenges local values and morality.

Invited to produce conservation education media for communities living near the critically endangered Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli), I used the opportunity to pursue a more just method for moral debates over wildlife in contexts of unequal power and unshared ...


Higher Commutator Theory For Congruence Modular Varieties, Andrew Paul Moorhead Jan 2016

Higher Commutator Theory For Congruence Modular Varieties, Andrew Paul Moorhead

Mathematics Graduate Theses & Dissertations

We develop the theory of the higher commutator for congruence modular varieties.


Aquinas On Happiness, Joseph Stenberg Jan 2016

Aquinas On Happiness, Joseph Stenberg

Philosophy Graduate Theses & Dissertations

This dissertation is a philosophical study of Thomas Aquinas’s theory of human happiness. I aim to give a careful, charitable, analytical, systematic exposition of his theory of happiness. The project is motivated both by the belief that Aquinas is a worthy interlocutor in thinking about happiness and by the conviction that happiness plays a foundational role in Aquinas’s broader ethical thought. The study takes as its point of departure a detailed summary of Aquinas’s Treatise on Happiness in the Summa Theologiae. In addition to providing a comprehensive sketch of Aquinas’s basic account of human happiness, that ...


Taking Luck Seriously: A Critique Of Enoch’S Third-Factor Pre-Established Harmony Explanation, Michael Robert Carrick Jan 2016

Taking Luck Seriously: A Critique Of Enoch’S Third-Factor Pre-Established Harmony Explanation, Michael Robert Carrick

Philosophy Graduate Theses & Dissertations

In this paper I criticize David Enoch’s purported solution to what he terms the epistemic challenge to robust moral realism. The epistemic challenge is a challenge aimed at the robust moral realist to explain how there could be a close enough correlation between normative truths and normative beliefs for humans to have knowledge of the normative truths given that there cannot be a causal relation between the normative truths and the normative beliefs. Enoch suggests a third-factor pre-established harmony between normative beliefs and normative truths as an explanation of the correlation; this explanation will be examined in detail below ...


Three Kinds Of Practical Reason, Shane Matthew Gronholz Jan 2016

Three Kinds Of Practical Reason, Shane Matthew Gronholz

Philosophy Graduate Theses & Dissertations

This dissertation is about the nature and variety of practical reasons. A practical reason is a fact that counts in favor of an agent performing some action, having some emotion, or having some other non-cognitive attitude. I provide a classification of different kinds of reasons and offer an account of how they determine different kinds of oughts. Many philosophers recognize that there is something distinctive about moral reasons and the moral point of view, but just what distinguishes the moral from other normative standpoints is not well understood. On my view, what makes a reason a moral reason is that ...


Vagueness And Propositional Content, Benjamin Wayne Rohrs Jan 2016

Vagueness And Propositional Content, Benjamin Wayne Rohrs

Philosophy Graduate Theses & Dissertations

This dissertation investigates the propositional content of vague sentences. It is a study in analytic metaphysics and analytic philosophy of language. A standard view in those sub-fields is that the content of a sentence is the proposition it expresses. For example, the English sentence ‘Snow is white’ and the German sentence ‘Schnee ist weiss’ have the same content because each expresses the proposition that snow is white. It is also standard to assume that propositions are bivalent, which is to say that any proposition P is either true or false in every possible case. However, these assumptions are called into ...


Action, Agents, And Extended Cognition, Rebecca Moore Renninger Jan 2016

Action, Agents, And Extended Cognition, Rebecca Moore Renninger

Philosophy Graduate Theses & Dissertations

Some authors in philosophy of mind have sought to defend a theory according to which cognitive processing and/or mental states substantively extend beyond the bounds of an individual’s body. The Extended Mind Thesis (EMT) asserts that the vehicles of cognition and mental states exist at least partly outside of the human thinker. This dissertation introduces and defends one new objection to EMT. My focus here will be on what I call the agency problem for the extended mind, which asserts that EMT cannot account for intentional action or human agency. I shall argue that EMT cannot explain genuine ...


Unifying The Conscious Self Through Internalist Reflection On First-Person Memories, Evan J. Dedolph Jan 2016

Unifying The Conscious Self Through Internalist Reflection On First-Person Memories, Evan J. Dedolph

Undergraduate Honors Theses

In this thesis, I explore questions related to the unity of the conscious self over time. To start, I provide philosophical background to the mind in the British empiricist tradition and outline Hume's various arguments against the continuous self. As a potential response to Hume, I offer David Woodruff-Smith's account of the modality of self-consciousness and then draw a parallel to Joseph Levine's conscious experience "E". Differing from these authors, I explore Sven Bernecker's account of first-person extroversive memories and the reidentification question relevant to personal identity. Here, I defend John Locke's answer that the ...


Pollution In Light Of Entropy, James L. Tao Jan 2016

Pollution In Light Of Entropy, James L. Tao

Undergraduate Honors Theses

This thesis explores a new approach to understanding contemporary environmental issues. This approach draws on concepts in thermodynamics such as entropy, free energy, and gradient dissipation, and applies them to non-equilibrium settings to provide an alternative view of chemical pollution in the context of ecosystems and human societies. Building on the works of Boltzmann, Gibbs, Schrödinger, E.P. Odum, Prigogine, Georgescu-Roegen, and Kay, this thesis demonstrates the necessity of pollution as a consequence of large scale energy use. First a historical background of thermodynamics and entropy is provided following the description of an “entropy framework” used to analyze various pollution ...


Epistemic Uncertainty: A Problematic Component Of Justifications For The Continued Use Of Drone Strikes, William M. Wehr Jan 2016

Epistemic Uncertainty: A Problematic Component Of Justifications For The Continued Use Of Drone Strikes, William M. Wehr

Undergraduate Honors Theses

The purpose of this paper is to present an objection to justifications for the continued use of drone strikes. This objection requires an examination of the fundamental aspects of the drone strike process. Considerations of strike authorization, outcome assessment, and intelligence gathering reveal deficiencies that contribute to the problematic status of the act. Arguments intended to justify the use of drone strikes rely on an analysis of outcomes that is impossible to satisfactorily apply to an evaluation of the tactic. These justifications are wholly insufficient on the grounds that we do not truly understand the nature of the use of ...


A United State Of Injustice, Alexa L. Wach Jan 2016

A United State Of Injustice, Alexa L. Wach

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Abstract: There are actions carried out by government under the guise of political authority that are immoral and unjust. I hope to show that the fact that government is the entity carrying out the morally questionable action is not sufficient to satisfy conditions that make prima facie wrong actions morally permissible. I will explore some political theories that attempt to explain why government has political authority, then challenge those theories. In an attempt to make clear why political authority is unjustified, I provide an argument in the form of a variety of extreme examples in which political authority might be ...


The Dark Side Of Compassion, Rebecca Combest Jan 2016

The Dark Side Of Compassion, Rebecca Combest

Undergraduate Honors Theses

The purpose of this research is to investigate the ways the aid industry affects its intended beneficiaries. My initial inquiries include: what the relevant needs/rights of poor people are, if our actions create or combat suffering, and whether our intentions matter when it comes to philanthropy. Through this process I assert that despite people's best intentions, the majority of benevolent efforts are not only ineffective but damningly detrimental. The inherent inequality of the giver-receiver relationship apparent in the aid industry has perpetuated oppression worldwide. And unfortunately, whether it be due to a lack of accountability or an immunity ...


Value, Duty And The Divine: A Critique Of Robert Adams' Divine-Based Axiology And A Defense Of A Divine Command Theory Of Moral Obligation., Elliot Spears Jan 2016

Value, Duty And The Divine: A Critique Of Robert Adams' Divine-Based Axiology And A Defense Of A Divine Command Theory Of Moral Obligation., Elliot Spears

Undergraduate Honors Theses

In Robert Adams’ famous book, “Finite and Infinite Goods,” he proposes a moral value theory that is divine-based and explains moral goodness in terms of resemblance to God. In this paper I argue against Adams’ position and propose an alternative theory that is non-divine based but should still be accepted by theists.

In the second half of this thesis I aim to show that divine command theory should not only be taken seriously as a metaethical stance, but that it is in fact the correct moral theory with regards to the nature of our moral duties. I present background information ...


Jane, Oakley Chad Merideth Jan 2016

Jane, Oakley Chad Merideth

English Graduate Theses & Dissertations

Jane is a collection of poetry that investigates the connections between the (seemingly disconnected) material and immaterial domains, ultimately by mediating both realms through a direct experience of the divine. The thesis consists of three individual sections which progress into a final long piece that illustrates how such an experience affects the individual on an ontological level wherein distinctions between the objective and subjective are dissolved. Prior to this, Jane explores how objects and subjects interact with each other and themselves, treating both as uncanny articulations of Being. It also utilizes biblical texts (and the events, characters, and items within ...


On Language, Art, And Intuitions, Jack Hernandez Jan 2016

On Language, Art, And Intuitions, Jack Hernandez

Undergraduate Honors Theses

This paper uses a neo-Wittgensteinian lens to explore the effect that language has on our conceptual intuitions, highlighting the fact that certain artworks, in so far as they are logically possible, provide special insight with regard to our conceptual concerns. Through an in-depth analysis of the comedic television series Rick and Morty, this paper will argue that our conceptual intuitions are often unable to be understood through the traditional analytic practice of explicating precise definitions in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions. Rather, to understand our concepts and the intuitions behind them we must expand our methods of analysis to ...


Aid Strings Attached—Disaster Burden Relieved: An Ethical Analysis Of Conditionally Providing Foreign Natural Disaster Aid In Order To Increase Climate Change Resilience, John Cortner Jan 2016

Aid Strings Attached—Disaster Burden Relieved: An Ethical Analysis Of Conditionally Providing Foreign Natural Disaster Aid In Order To Increase Climate Change Resilience, John Cortner

Undergraduate Honors Theses

In this paper, I explore the ethical intricacies involved in the United States providing foreign disaster aid with the condition that a portion be used to build resilience to climate change. Objections to providing conditional aid and the ability to implement it are addressed. Responses to these objections form an argument in support of conditional aid and its benefits to the global community through cooperative resilience building. Finally, I recommend conditional aid as a tool for building strong and independent countries in a changing climate.


Equal Representation For Women: Why It Is Unjust For Men To Represent The Majority In Government When Writing And Passing Legislation Regarding Women's Reproductive Rights, Arielle Berne Jan 2016

Equal Representation For Women: Why It Is Unjust For Men To Represent The Majority In Government When Writing And Passing Legislation Regarding Women's Reproductive Rights, Arielle Berne

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Women's reproductive rights are an extremely contentious issue in the United States. I argue that women must be equally represented in government for it to be just to write and pass legislation regarding women's reproductive rights. Throughout this thesis, I consider reproductive rights as negative rights that aim to protect procreative liberty for women. Procreative liberty is the freedom for people to choose to either procreate or refrain from doing so. As a negative right, procreative liberty is the protection of a man or woman’s ability to make the choice to procreate without interference from others or ...