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“The Moral Equivalent Of War”: William James’S Minor Variation On Common Themes, Marilyn Fischer Apr 2018

“The Moral Equivalent Of War”: William James’S Minor Variation On Common Themes, Marilyn Fischer

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Unlike other scholars who interpret William James’s “The Moral Equivalent of War” in light of the author’s other writings, I read the essay as James’s contribution to conversations being held within the pre-World War One international peace movement. The essay shares the vocabulary, images, and patterns of reasoning widely employed by others in the movement. James’s analysis of violence described a standard frame of mind at that time. Like many of his contemporaries, he assumed that war had contributed to social cohesion and strenuousness in the past, but that this was no longer the case. Like ...


Diversified Philosophy, Aili W. Bresnahan Jan 2018

Diversified Philosophy, Aili W. Bresnahan

Philosophy Faculty Publications

In this essay, Aili Bresnahan notes that institutions and many others are working to diversify the field of philosophy, in terms of the persons who count as philosophers, what counts as a legitimate philosophical methodology, and which phenomena and entities it handles. She writes that this is a positive development that will enrich and enliven the field so that, ultimately, philosophy survives.


Human Development, Human Rights, And The 50th Anniversary Of Populorum Progressio, Ellen Maccarone Nov 2017

Human Development, Human Rights, And The 50th Anniversary Of Populorum Progressio, Ellen Maccarone

The Social Practice of Human Rights: Charting the Frontiers of Research and Advocacy

At the 50th anniversary of the encyclical Populorum Progressio, we have a critical opportunity to bring Paul VI’s insights to the social practice of human rights. The development of peoples discussed by the encyclical isolates areas of significant concern to the Church and humanity more broadly. This, however, is not to say that there are not other issues overlooked in Populorum Progressio that also need to be addressed.

In this paper I argue that the understanding of human development found in Populorum Progressio serves as an important yet sometimes overlooked foundation in Catholic social teaching for the advancement ...


[Not] Buying It: Prostitution As Unwanted Sex, Rebecca Whisnant Jan 2017

[Not] Buying It: Prostitution As Unwanted Sex, Rebecca Whisnant

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Noting the relative invisibility of prostitution buyers, or Johns, in discussions of the morality of prostitution, this article criticizes Johns’ behavior on the grounds that they are culpably involved in causing the typical harms of prostitution in the lives of the women whom they pay for sex. Those harms are, at bottom, the result of being habitually subjected to unwanted sex, and they are exacerbated rather than mitigated by such sex being bought and paid for. Efforts to normalize and legalize sex-buying should therefore be resisted.


The Research Skills Of Undergraduate Philosophy Majors: Teaching Information Literacy, Heidi Gauder, Fred W. Jenkins Sep 2016

The Research Skills Of Undergraduate Philosophy Majors: Teaching Information Literacy, Heidi Gauder, Fred W. Jenkins

Roesch Library Faculty Publications

This article presents a case study of how one school introduced a one-credit course for philosophy majors focused on effective searching for and critical evaluation of primary and secondary sources. The course curriculum is based on departmental learning outcomes and is also aligned with the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) standards.


Pornography, Humiliation, And Consent, Rebecca Whisnant Jul 2016

Pornography, Humiliation, And Consent, Rebecca Whisnant

Philosophy Faculty Publications

This article considers the role of humiliation in contemporary pornography, arguing that it constitutes a severe form of harm to many female pornography performers. It further contends that the apparently consensual nature of much humiliating pornography exacerbates its harm to the humiliated performers.


Review: 'Neurobiology: A Functional Approach', Paul Tibbetts Jun 2016

Review: 'Neurobiology: A Functional Approach', Paul Tibbetts

Philosophy Faculty Publications

The focus of this volume is on how nervous systems work and why they work as they do in the context of “the problems that brains help organisms solve” (p. xix). Accordingly, throughout this 16-chapter publication, the focus of the author is more on neural architecture and functioning at the circuitry and systems levels of analysis than on cellular and genetic factors. Actually, I found a nicely balanced and constantly interwoven discussion of all of these levels of analysis. The opening chapter is an overview of neuroanatomy and organization, neural circuitry, and functional architecture.

In order, the following chapters cover ...


Dancing Philosophy: What Happens To Philosophy When Considered From The Point Of View Of A Dancer, Aili W. Bresnahan Jun 2016

Dancing Philosophy: What Happens To Philosophy When Considered From The Point Of View Of A Dancer, Aili W. Bresnahan

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Western philosophical aesthetics tends to answer the question, “What is art?” by starting with the perspective of the art appreciator. What does the spectator perceive in the artistic entity at issue? For example, are these properties formal and tangible, an arrangement of lines and colors as provided by Clive Bell’s theory of significant form? Are they contextual—are they, for example, the expression of the experience of a particular culture? Or are these properties relational in the sense of being a comment on or response to another art-historical movement, such as Cubism?

Starting from this perspective, the methodology tends ...


A Balancing Act: Reading 'Amoris Laetitia', Peter Steinfels, Paige E. Hochschild, William L. Portier, Sandra A. Yocum, Dennis O'Brien May 2016

A Balancing Act: Reading 'Amoris Laetitia', Peter Steinfels, Paige E. Hochschild, William L. Portier, Sandra A. Yocum, Dennis O'Brien

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

Five religious scholars provide commentary on Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), Pope Francis's 2016 apostolic exhortation on love in the family.


Trauma, Oppression, And Identity: A Philosophical Approach To Justice In Catholic Communities, Dominic Sanfilippo Apr 2016

Trauma, Oppression, And Identity: A Philosophical Approach To Justice In Catholic Communities, Dominic Sanfilippo

Honors Theses

Many disciplines have contributed to the evolving understanding of trauma and oppression. The discipline of philosophy offers us the opportunity to ask the question: what should we be doing to create conditions of justice in communities where people have experienced trauma or oppression in relation to their identity? In this thesis, I will use philosophy to propose ways that we can ameliorate injustice in social and religious settings, particularly Catholicism. By examining historical and contemporary questions around identity and the self, I hope to begin to articulate both a specific problem in the Church and identify possible paths toward creating ...


Power, Virtue, And Vice, Peggy Desautels Apr 2016

Power, Virtue, And Vice, Peggy Desautels

Philosophy Faculty Publications

I approach virtue theory in a way that avoids idealized social ontologies and instead focuses on social hierarchies that include relations of power. I focus on the virtues tied to improving social environments—what I refer to as social-ethic virtues—and examine how the development of social-ethic virtues is influenced by motivations for and situations involving power. I draw on research in social and personality psychology to show that persons motivated by power and persons holding powerful social positions tend to behave in ways that correlate with certain virtuous and vicious patterns of behavior. I maintain that patterns of moral ...


A Pluralistic Universe In Twenty Years, Marilyn Fischer Apr 2016

A Pluralistic Universe In Twenty Years, Marilyn Fischer

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Placed side by side, James' A Pluralistic Universe and Addams’s Twenty Years at Hull-House seem to have little in common. James’s critique of absolute idealism is written for intellectuals comfortable with philosophical abstractions. Twenty Years is full of stories about the lives of poor people and immigrants. Yet, sometime after April 1909, when A Pluralistic Universe appeared, and before November 1910, when Twenty Years was published, Addams inserted a few telling quotations into her manuscript. I will give a reading of Twenty Years as a presentation in real time of James’s pluralistic universe, with both form and ...


'But What About Feminist Porn?' Examining The Work Of Tristan Taormino, Rebecca Whisnant Apr 2016

'But What About Feminist Porn?' Examining The Work Of Tristan Taormino, Rebecca Whisnant

Philosophy Faculty Publications

This article examines the work of Tristan Taormino, a prominent self-described feminist pornographer, in order to illustrate themes and commitments common among those who produce, perform in, and/or support feminist pornography. I argue that her work is burdened by thin and limited conceptions of feminism, authenticity, and sexual ethics, as well as by the profit-based exigencies of producing “feminist porn” within the mainstream pornography industry. I conclude that, if indeed feminist pornography is possible, Taormino’s work falls far short of the mark. Public Health Significance Statement: This study suggests that Taormino’s pornographic films are unlikely to have ...


Beyond Dualism And Monism: Bergson’S Slanted Being, Messay Kebede Jan 2016

Beyond Dualism And Monism: Bergson’S Slanted Being, Messay Kebede

Philosophy Faculty Publications

There is an old but still unresolved debate pertaining to the question of Bergsonian monism or dualism. Scholars who think that Bergson is ultimately monist clash with those who claim that he has consistently maintained a dualist position. Others speak of contradiction and point out his failure to reconcile dualism with monism. What feeds on the debate is Bergson’s undeniable change of direction: while his first book is flagrantly dualist, his second book takes a sharp turn toward monism. Without denying the intricacy generated by the change of direction, this paper argues that the originality of his position is ...


Ecological Laws And Their Promise Of Explanations, Viorel Pâslaru Jan 2016

Ecological Laws And Their Promise Of Explanations, Viorel Pâslaru

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Marcel Weber (1999) argued that the principle of competitive exclusion is a law of ecology that could explain phenomena (1) by direct application, or (2) by describing default states. Since he did not offer an account of explanation by direct application of laws, I offer an interpretation of explanation by direct application of laws based on a proposal by Elgin and Sober (2002). I show that in both cases it is the descriptions of mechanisms that explain phenomena, and not the laws. Lev Ginzburg and Mark Colyvan (2004) argued Malthus’ Law of Exponential Growth is the first law of ecology ...


Aristotle On The Metaphysics Of Emotions, Myrna Gabbe Jan 2016

Aristotle On The Metaphysics Of Emotions, Myrna Gabbe

Philosophy Faculty Publications

This article explores the nature of Aristotelian emotions and the body-soul metaphysics required to undergird them. The point of departure is an oft-cited argument that appeals to our experience of fear and anger to show the inseparability of the soul. My claim is that this argument is commonly misunderstood: that the intended target is not a separable soul, but an embodied soul.

Reinterpreted, we find that Aristotle is driven by an interest to integrate the sentient body with the intellect. And while, on this interpretation, the argument does not support a functionalist reading of Aristotle on the soul, it does ...


Paralysis And Sexuality In Medical Literature And The 'Acts Of Peter', Meghan Henning Oct 2015

Paralysis And Sexuality In Medical Literature And The 'Acts Of Peter', Meghan Henning

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

This paper focuses on the story of Peter’s daughter that is found in the Berlin Coptic papyrus BG 8502.4 and is associated with the apocryphal Acts of Peter. Research on the story of Peter’s daughter has primarily focused on its interpretation of the theme of chastity, or whether the story was originally included in the Acts of Peter. In the course of these investigations, scholars have taken for granted the curious assumption of the text that paralysis renders Peter’s daughter unfit for marriage, and thus safe from Ptolemy’s unwanted advances.

This paper explores the underlying ...


Pornography And Humiliation, Rebecca Whisnant Oct 2015

Pornography And Humiliation, Rebecca Whisnant

Philosophy Faculty Publications

In discussions about pornography, the boundary of the harmful and unacceptable is, for many, the lack of consent. But my brief analysis here shows that this is a dangerous simplification. Images of women who accept and even welcome their own humiliation and degradation are deeply destructive, not only for the women portrayed, but for women in general.


Improvisation In The Arts, Aili W. Bresnahan Sep 2015

Improvisation In The Arts, Aili W. Bresnahan

Philosophy Faculty Publications

This article focuses primarily on improvisation in the arts as discussed in philosophical aesthetics, supplemented with accounts of improvisational practice by arts theorists and educators. It begins with an overview of the term improvisation, first as it is used in general and then as it is used to describe particular products and practices in the individual arts. From here, questions and challenges that improvisation raises for the traditional work-of-art concept, the type-token distinction and the appreciation and evaluation of the arts will be explored. This article concludes with the suggestion that further research and discussion on improvisation in the arts ...


Philosophers On Prostitution’S Decriminalization, Rebecca Whisnant Aug 2015

Philosophers On Prostitution’S Decriminalization, Rebecca Whisnant

Philosophy Faculty Publications

The decriminalization of sex work is currently being discussed around the world. Daily Nous invited a number of philosophers to join this public discussion here, with brief contributions that clarify some of its central issues and disputes.

The idea of the “Philosophers On” series is to prompt further discussion among philosophers about issues and events of current public interest, and also to explore the ways in which philosophers can add, with their characteristically insightful and careful modes of thinking, to the public conversation.


The Seal Of Solomon: An Exploration Of Storytelling, Ryan M. Krisby May 2015

The Seal Of Solomon: An Exploration Of Storytelling, Ryan M. Krisby

Honors Theses

The Seal of Solomon is a work of fantasy with steampunk, flintlock-fantasy elements exploring Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, also known as the hero’s journey. The hero’s journey is both a physical and personal journey in which the hero ventures from their common world and into a realm of supernatural wonder where they encounter challenges, until they enter the “belly of the whale,” undergo an apotheosis and achieve the ultimate boon. They return to their common world changed, enlightened from their experiences and with a freedom over their life that they did not have before. I explore the tropes ...


Review: 'Gendered Readings Of Change', Marilyn Fischer Apr 2015

Review: 'Gendered Readings Of Change', Marilyn Fischer

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Clara Fischer casts a wide net in seeking a conception of change with which to understand feminist transformation of both self and social institutions. She explores metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, and political theories of change in developing a feminist-pragmatist approach. Writing clearly and carefully, Fischer employs her knowledge of relevant primary and secondary texts deftly. She has a particularly admirable ability to appreciate what various philosophers have to offer while honestly appraising and seeking remedies for weaknesses in their theories.


The Ethiopian Student Movement: A Rejoinder To Bahru Zewde’S The Quest For Socialist Utopia, Messay Kebede Apr 2015

The Ethiopian Student Movement: A Rejoinder To Bahru Zewde’S The Quest For Socialist Utopia, Messay Kebede

Philosophy Faculty Publications

My intention is not to defend the right of philosophers to theorize on social movements and changes; nor is it to defend the value of my work against Bahru’s attacks. Rather, I want to show that his criticisms of my book are either contradictory or express an inability to analyze from a level surpassing mere narration. In thus exposing the theoretical poverty of Bahru’s book, as well as the inconsistency of his project of shielding the student movement from criticism, I will explicate how and why Bahru intentionally misreads my book. I add that what Bahru calls “dismissive ...


Practicing To Aim At Truth: Theological Engagements In Honor Of Nancey Murphy, Ryan Newson, Brad Kallenberg Jan 2015

Practicing To Aim At Truth: Theological Engagements In Honor Of Nancey Murphy, Ryan Newson, Brad Kallenberg

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

Well-meaning evangelicals unfamiliar with Nancey Murphy’s philosophical theology frequently worry that her work in philosophy of mind has the effect of depriving us of our souls. When such an objection is voiced after a speaking engagement, Murphy’s “reassurance” is predictable: “Don’t worry! There is nothing to be lost; we never had souls to begin with!”

Underneath her wry reply is a deep concern that philosophical confusion about “having a soul” is seriously undermining Christian discipleship. For example, it has become second nature for many Christians to hold that the soul is more important than the body; regardless ...


Extraordinary Love In The Lives Of Lay People, Dennis M. Doyle Jan 2015

Extraordinary Love In The Lives Of Lay People, Dennis M. Doyle

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

The College Theology Society (CTS), initially called the Society of Catholic College Teachers of Sacred Doctrine, was founded mainly by religious and clergy in the early 1950s to support those who taught college-level theology to Catholics in non-seminary settings. Sometimes CTS, in comparison with another group, is said to be relatively more lay-oriented. What this actually means, I think, is that for the CTS, the college classroom, populated mainly by lay people, was the primary locus for carrying out the task of teaching theology.

The main goal was to promote the religious formation of Catholic lay people. Given some of ...


A Member Of No Community? Theology After Wittgenstein, Brad Kallenberg Jan 2015

A Member Of No Community? Theology After Wittgenstein, Brad Kallenberg

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

The study of Wittgenstein has spawned a new sort of Christian theology. A growing list of theologians have discovered in Wittgenstein a therapy for conceptual confusion and tips for how to go on, not only in religious faith and practice, but also in the practice of theology as an academic discipline. This is not to say that such thinkers have succeeded in turning Wittgenstein into an instrument of apologetics or that Wittgenstein has “delivered” them from the grip of their own religious particularity. No; they have learned from Wittgenstein the skill of silence. Their theology, like Wittgenstein’s philosophy, comes ...


Ecclesial Practices, Colin M. Mcguigan, Brad Kallenberg Jan 2015

Ecclesial Practices, Colin M. Mcguigan, Brad Kallenberg

Religious Studies Faculty Publications

In this chapter, we first provide an overview of the place of practice in some of the most prominent recent epistemologists of religion; second, we give an account of an ordinary practice (engineering) to flesh out a general conception of the importance of practice in training cognizers for skilled perception; third, and last, we connect the results of this inquiry with renewed theological and philosophical interest in the ‘spiritual senses’ tradition. The upshot of these reflections is the conclusion that an adequate account of social practices already anticipates the possibility that ecclesial practice might contribute to an epistemic transformation capable ...


How Artistic Creativity Is Possible For Cultural Agents, Aili W. Bresnahan Jan 2015

How Artistic Creativity Is Possible For Cultural Agents, Aili W. Bresnahan

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Joseph Margolis holds that both artworks and selves are ”culturally emergent entities." Culturally emergent entities are distinct from and not reducible to natural or physical entities. Artworks are thus not reducible to their physical media; a painting is thus not paint on canvas and music is not sound.

In a similar vein, selves or persons are not reducible to biology, and thought is not reducible to the physical brain. Both artworks and selves thus have two ongoing and inseparable ”evolutions”—one cultural and one physical. Rather than having fixed ”natures” that remain stable for any purpose other than numerical identity ...


Building Feminism, Resisting Porn Culture: Where To From Here, Rebecca Whisnant Jan 2015

Building Feminism, Resisting Porn Culture: Where To From Here, Rebecca Whisnant

Philosophy Faculty Publications

In this chapter, I discuss the key elements that radical feminism can contribute to the rebuilding of a powerful movement for women's liberation in the era of porn culture.

First things first, we need more people, more of the time, out there presenting radical feminist critique. I happen to know, for instance, that many bright and well-intentioned young people are toeing the third wave, sexual libertarian line because it's all they've been taught in their women's studies classes. And, of course, many people outside the academy have very little exposure to feminist critiques of virtually anything ...


Mullā Ṣadrā On The Efficacy Of Prayer, Sayeh Meisami Jan 2015

Mullā Ṣadrā On The Efficacy Of Prayer, Sayeh Meisami

Philosophy Faculty Publications

This article presents the manner in which Mullā Ṣadrā explains the influence of prayer (duʿā) on the world, drawing as he does on Ibn ʿArabī’s ideas against the backdrop of his own dynamic metaphysical psychology. Mullā Ṣadrā eventually distances himself from Ibn Sīnā’s position on the passive nature of prayer, and instead opts for Ibn ʿArabī’s reading of the intimate divine–human interplay in prayer itself. In doing so, Mullā Ṣadrā provides a formulation of prayer in which the supplicant plays an active role in eliciting the divine response to her prayer. For Mullā Ṣadrā, prayer therefore ...