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Echoes Of Leibniz In Pope’S Essay On Man: Criticism And Cultural Shift In The Eighteenth Century, Sierra Billingslea Jun 2017

Echoes Of Leibniz In Pope’S Essay On Man: Criticism And Cultural Shift In The Eighteenth Century, Sierra Billingslea

Pursuit - The Journal of Undergraduate Research at the University of Tennessee

This paper is an examination of the intellectual relationship between Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Man and the philosophy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. This relationship was accentuated by Crousaz, a Swiss critic, who accused Pope of plagiarizing Leibniz’s misguided philosophy due to the evidence of Leibniz’s Principle of the Best, Principle of Sufficient Reason, and Principle of Continuity found within An Essay on Man. This paper argues that both Leibniz and Popes’ philosophies do not reflect a direct relationship but instead share the spirit of Augustan thought as well as a similar classical upbringing. Crousaz and other ...


Religious Metaphor And Structural Complexity, Tyler E. Kibbey May 2017

Religious Metaphor And Structural Complexity, Tyler E. Kibbey

University of Tennessee Honors Thesis Projects

No abstract provided.


Arguments Against Peter Klein's Infinitism, Jason A Dewitt May 2017

Arguments Against Peter Klein's Infinitism, Jason A Dewitt

University of Tennessee Honors Thesis Projects

No abstract provided.


The Beauty Of Understanding: Aesthetic Methods Of Theory Evaluation, Devon Craig Bryson May 2017

The Beauty Of Understanding: Aesthetic Methods Of Theory Evaluation, Devon Craig Bryson

Doctoral Dissertations

Philosophers use a variety of methods to evaluate theories, theories that are sources of greater understanding. My dissertation argues that judgments of beauty are a justified part of how we evaluate theories. That is, I argue that beauty is part of what makes a philosophical theory better. I reach this conclusion by analyzing two powerful and popular methods of theory evaluation: reflective equilibrium and simplicity. The literatures on both reflective equilibrium and simplicity clarify how these methods work and why they are justified methods of theory evaluation. But I argue that the going accounts of reflective equilibrium and simplicity have ...


The Significance Of Rousseau’S Concept Of Amour-Propre In Rawls, Xinghua Wang May 2017

The Significance Of Rousseau’S Concept Of Amour-Propre In Rawls, Xinghua Wang

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation defends the view that there is a Rousseauvian interpretation of Rawls’s political philosophy by focusing on the significance of amour-propre in Rawls’s political philosophy. In the first chapter, I introduce my central thesis and chapter arrangements and compare my Rousseauvian interpretation with other interpretations of Rawls. In the second chapter, I introduce Rousseau’s concept of amour-propre and try to defend Rawls’s wide view of amourpropre, according to which, amour-propre has both a positive and a negative form. In the third chapter, I argue that Rousseau’s concept of amour-propre plays a significant role in ...


Population, Consumption, And Procreation: Ethical Implications For Humanity’S Future, Trevor Grant Hedberg May 2017

Population, Consumption, And Procreation: Ethical Implications For Humanity’S Future, Trevor Grant Hedberg

Doctoral Dissertations

Human population growth is a contributing factor to a number of significant environmental problems. My dissertation addresses both the negative environmental effects of human population growth and what ought to be done to curtail them. Specifically, I defend two main claims: (1) we have a duty to reduce human population, particularly those of us with large ecological footprints, and (2) morally permissible social policies can satisfy this duty.

I begin by addressing three well-known issues in population ethics that could serve as the basis for objections to reducing population: the Repugnant Conclusion, the Non-Identity Problem, and the Asymmetry. I then ...


Les Auteures Surréalistes : French And Francophone Women Surrealist Writers -- Joyce Mansour, Valentine Penrose And Gisèle Prassinos, Maitland Sierra Dunwoody May 2017

Les Auteures Surréalistes : French And Francophone Women Surrealist Writers -- Joyce Mansour, Valentine Penrose And Gisèle Prassinos, Maitland Sierra Dunwoody

Masters Theses

The notion of the “author” and the purpose of its existence have been the subject of many contemporary debates, with Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault as key. For Barthes, language defines a literary work and the author is relegated to a minor place. And he believes that certain movements, surrealism as an example, effectively aided in the “death” of the author. Though that may sometimes be the case, within the movement of surrealism the author and their language are of almost equal importance – which differs entirely from Barthes’ view considering his notions on the surrealist movement and authorship. In addressing ...


Sketches, Impressions And Confessions: Literature As Experiment In The Nineteenth Century, Andrew Ragsdale Lallier Dec 2016

Sketches, Impressions And Confessions: Literature As Experiment In The Nineteenth Century, Andrew Ragsdale Lallier

Doctoral Dissertations

In this dissertation, I argue for the existence and critical relevance of a program of experimental literature in the long nineteenth century, developed in the aesthetics of German Romanticism and adapted in a set of texts by Thomas De Quincey, Charles Dickens and George Eliot. My introduction positions this argument in context of larger debates concerning form, theory and literary capacity, provides points of connection between these authors, and outlines the most prominent features of experimental literature. In the first chapter, I present an unorthodox reading of Kant’s Critique of Judgment, accompanied by a brief account of the literary-critical ...


Virtue, Evidence, And Epistemic Justification, Alexander Steven Hallam Aug 2016

Virtue, Evidence, And Epistemic Justification, Alexander Steven Hallam

Doctoral Dissertations

Evidence is a central concept in epistemology and more narrowly, theories of epistemic justification. Evidence is commonly thought to be what justifies our beliefs. On this view, a belief is justified for a person if that belief fits that person’s total body of evidence. But it is also commonly thought that evidence isn’t the only thing that justifies a belief. Some epistemologists even think that evidence isn’t what justifies a belief at all. Virtue epistemologists give epistemic or intellectual virtues an important and fundamental role in theories of epistemic justification. On such views, for a belief to ...


Troubles At Coal Creek: Rhetorics Of Writing, Research, And The Archive, Sumner Stevenson Brown Aug 2016

Troubles At Coal Creek: Rhetorics Of Writing, Research, And The Archive, Sumner Stevenson Brown

Masters Theses

Digging through the past can uncover painful truths. As such, historiography that does not acknowledge negotiated spaces, cultural erasures, and flexible frameworks may fall short. It may limit both breadth and depth of the past, thereby (re)producing erasures, whereas a reflexive theoretical framework delivers not only depth and breadth, but it also adds texture and dimension to historical writing and research processes. It is for these purposes that the value of alternative methodologies is not situated at the margins of the rhetorical canons. Instead, it is embedded in the very core of the canons, defined as an element that ...


Anthropocentrism And The Long-Term: Nietzsche As An Environmental Thinker, Andrew Nolan Hatley May 2016

Anthropocentrism And The Long-Term: Nietzsche As An Environmental Thinker, Andrew Nolan Hatley

Doctoral Dissertations

Nietzsche has been advanced as an authoritative support for nearly every political aim since his death in 1900. Recent work has focused on his potential to contribute to environmental ethics. I defend the view that Nietzsche can contribute to both environmental ethics and aesthetics, and moreover, that his philosophy cannot be fully understood without the conceptual resources of environmental philosophy. Nietzsche’s critique of morality and positive ethical views cannot be understood independent of conceptual distinctions of anthropocentrism and topics such as future generations and biocentric discussions of axiology. Nietzsche’s philosophy of nature emerges from his rejection of both ...


Rawlsian Self-Respect And Limiting Liberties In The Background Culture, Kyle William Chapel May 2016

Rawlsian Self-Respect And Limiting Liberties In The Background Culture, Kyle William Chapel

Masters Theses

John Rawls tells us in his landmark work, A Theory of Justice (1971), that self-respect is the “most important primary good” (TJ 386) and that “the parties in the original position would wish to avoid at almost any cost the social conditions that undermine self-respect” (TJ 440). The importance of self-respect is a theme that continues throughout the body of Rawl’s work; in Political Liberalism (1993) Rawls tells us that in considering different principles of justice parties in the original position put a great deal of emphasis on “how well principles of justice support self-respect” (PL 319). Given the ...


Virtue, Knowledge, And Goodness, Marlin Ray Sommers May 2016

Virtue, Knowledge, And Goodness, Marlin Ray Sommers

Masters Theses

This thesis consists of three parts. Part one responds to an argument by Jason Baehr that virtues of intellectual character which make their possessor good qua person can also figure as virtues in reliabilist accounts of knowledge. I analyze his argument with special attention to the cases he uses to motivate his claims, and argue that the role which intellectual character virtues play in the acquisition of knowledge is not the role which is relevant to reliabilists accounts of knowledge. More generally, I argue that character intellectual virtues are not good candidates for reliabilist virtues because their telos is not ...


The Liberal As An Enemy Of Queer Justice, Craig Schamel Oct 2015

The Liberal As An Enemy Of Queer Justice, Craig Schamel

Catalyst: A Social Justice Forum

Abstract

Liberalism as a historical mode of the political is the context in which the movement and ensuing struggle for queer justice emerged in most Western countries. The terminology, practices, tendencies, beliefs, ethics, laws, and patterns of political and social life which have been determined by this mode of the political, it is argued, are inimical to queer justice and render its achievement impossible. Liberalism as a mode of the political is approached from below, from knowledge gained in practical experience in queer groups which considered themselves revolutionary at least to some degree, and from the effects on such groups ...


Social Systems And Psychic Confluence: Flash Mobs, Communications, And Agency, Nicholas John Hauman Aug 2015

Social Systems And Psychic Confluence: Flash Mobs, Communications, And Agency, Nicholas John Hauman

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation involves two components: 1) an analysis of the history of flash mobs including detailed descriptions of specific flash mobs and 2) an exploration of what this analysis elucidates concerning the interaction between individuals and social structure. By focusing on the flash mob as a form of communication, the dissertation displays how the flash mob has communicated multiplicitously through various social systems (e.g. art, mass media, economy, politics) to achieve various and often divergent ends. Within this larger understanding of the interaction between flash mobs and social structure this dissertation also finds, through an application of Luhmannian systems ...


Religious Tones And Overtones In The Human Sufficiency Arguments Of Marx And Nietzsche, Norman Rudolph Saliba Aug 2015

Religious Tones And Overtones In The Human Sufficiency Arguments Of Marx And Nietzsche, Norman Rudolph Saliba

Masters Theses

It is often assumed that since Marx and Nietzsche were both anti-religious thinkers, religion played no part in the formulation of their philosophical outlooks. With this assumption, the influence of historical religions on rhetoric has received a subordinate role, if at all, in the discourse on 19th century German critiques of those very religions. Although differing fundamentally in the debate on inclusiveness versus individuality, this essay asserts that Marx and Nietzsche, both from families of religious scholars, broke with previous philosophical tradition and utilized a religious form of rhetoric in their writings to combat doctrines of human deficiency inherent ...


Responsibility, Blame And The Psychopath, Matthew William Ruble May 2015

Responsibility, Blame And The Psychopath, Matthew William Ruble

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation examines the moral responsibility of psychopaths. I begin with an analysis of the concept of psychopathy by situating it within the context of a central debate in the philosophy of psychiatry over the conceptual nature of mental illness to demonstrate that psychopathy is an inherently value-laden concept. I argue against the disease-model of psychopathy and against their automatic exemption from moral responsibility as argued for by many moral philosophers. Psychopaths possess sufficient agency such that exempting them from moral responsibility is problematic both epistemically and morally. Yet psychopaths frequently offer reasons for their behavior that reveal their distance ...


The Role Of Social Context In The Production Of Scientific Knowledge, Kristen Lynn Beard May 2015

The Role Of Social Context In The Production Of Scientific Knowledge, Kristen Lynn Beard

University of Tennessee Honors Thesis Projects

No abstract provided.


Spectacle, Consumer Capitalism, And The Hyperreality Of The Mediated American Jury Trial: The French Perspective On O.J. Simpson, Casey Anthony, And Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Bailey Miller Wamp May 2015

Spectacle, Consumer Capitalism, And The Hyperreality Of The Mediated American Jury Trial: The French Perspective On O.J. Simpson, Casey Anthony, And Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Bailey Miller Wamp

Masters Theses

This study investigates modern French criticism of jury trial mediation in the United States. By engaging the work of twentieth-century French theorists Jean Baudrillard, Guy Debord, and Pierre Bourdieu, as well as French journalistic reporting on the jury trials of O.J. Simpson, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and Casey Anthony, this study argues that mediated images of the American jury trial abandon the pursuit of justice in favor of a consumer capitalist endeavor to create spectacle. Ultimately, jury trial mediation generates a hyperreality in which the media simulates the pursuit of justice with no reference to the “real” pursuit of justice.

In ...


The Green Staff Of Asclepius: Envisioning Sustainable Medicine, Jason Lee Fishel Dec 2014

The Green Staff Of Asclepius: Envisioning Sustainable Medicine, Jason Lee Fishel

Doctoral Dissertations

To make society sustainable our institutions must also become sustainable. As an institution, health care contributes to environmental degradation. While unsurprising, contributions to environmental degradation increase risk factors for disease and illness, effectively frustrating the goals of medicine. To find ways to make health care sustainable I begin by reviewing the literature on sustainability from within environmental ethics and two previous attempts at envisioning sustainable health care in order to learn what to include in a vision of sustainable health care. Then I examine problems specific to making medicine sustainable by investigating how sustainability might affect the principles of medicine ...


Reviving First Person Understanding In Ethical Inquiry, Matthew Allen Reese Dec 2014

Reviving First Person Understanding In Ethical Inquiry, Matthew Allen Reese

Masters Theses

Virtue Ethicists who follow the arguments set out in Elizabeth Anscombe’s Modern Moral Philosophy have consistently referenced problems with modern ethical thought. It is unclear, however, whether a single theme unites their dissatisfaction. Discovering ‘the problem’ is important for two reasons: first, it is, itself, historically interesting were there to emerge a common thread running through modernity; second, it is potentially insightful for providing future direction to ethicists. In the following two sections I argue, respectively, that such a theme underlies modern ethics and, further, that it is problematic.

In Section I, I take up three influential dichotomies. I ...


Indeterminism In Kane’S Event-Causal Libertarianism, Robert J. Nowell Jun 2014

Indeterminism In Kane’S Event-Causal Libertarianism, Robert J. Nowell

Pursuit - The Journal of Undergraduate Research at the University of Tennessee

In this paper, I examine the plausibility of event-causal libertarianism, a prominent view on free will which regards indeterminism in the causal history of a decision as necessary for an agent’s moral responsibility for a subsequent action. Specifically, I investigate how Robert Kane’s event-causal libertarian account fares in light of Derk Pereboom’s powerful “disappearing agent” objection, in addition to criticisms of my own. Kane concludes that Pereboom’s objection is ineffective against his account. I argue against Kane’s conclusion by highlighting a dilemma which results from Kane's response to the disappearing agent objection; either way ...


The Fair And Laissez-Faire Markets: From A Neoliberal Laissez-Faire Baseline To A Fair Market, Eric L. Dixon Jun 2014

The Fair And Laissez-Faire Markets: From A Neoliberal Laissez-Faire Baseline To A Fair Market, Eric L. Dixon

Pursuit - The Journal of Undergraduate Research at the University of Tennessee

The essay begins with a brief overview of the role of the neoliberal conception of the laissez-faire market in modern political economy. The essay then goes on to defend three claims: 1) the laissez-faire version of a market should not be considered the economic ideal or baseline version of a market because often the fundamental conditions required to reach a genuine equilibrium are unfulfilled under a laissez-faire environment, 2) a distribution resultant from a laissez-faire market should not be considered the ultima facie just distributive baseline because an unregulated market may allocate commodities according to morally arbitrary factors and requires ...


In Defense Of The Direct Argument For Incompatibilism, Paul Roger Turner May 2014

In Defense Of The Direct Argument For Incompatibilism, Paul Roger Turner

Doctoral Dissertations

Is moral responsibility compatible with the truth of causal determinism? One of the most influential arguments that moral responsibility is incompatible with causal determinism is the so-called ‘Direct Argument,’ developed by Peter van Inwagen in his An Essay on Free Will. Informally put, the Direct Argument goes as follows:

If determinism is true, then our acts are the consequences of the laws of nature and events in the remote past. But we are not responsible for what went on before we were born, and neither are we responsible for what the laws of nature are. Therefore, we are not responsible ...


The "Vast And Terrible" Trauma: American Literary Naturalism, Ethics, And Levinas, Tyler Joseph Efird May 2014

The "Vast And Terrible" Trauma: American Literary Naturalism, Ethics, And Levinas, Tyler Joseph Efird

Doctoral Dissertations

In an 1896 essay, Frank Norris wrote that the reading world should abandon those “teacup tragedies” to which it had grown accustomed and embrace a new literature that would depict a “vast and terrible drama.” Realism, Norris claimed, could not be used to achieve an earnest portrait of the conditions that mark individual lives under capitalism. Instead, the world needed a romantic wrestling with the forces of existential inscrutability. Also, the perceived need for literature to depict a clear ethical system needed revising from the perspective of American literary naturalism, a school long denigrated for apparent moral vacuity. Through excruciating ...


Ought Implies Can: Why It Is Wrong And How That Impacts Deontic Logics, Kevin Michael Gayler May 2014

Ought Implies Can: Why It Is Wrong And How That Impacts Deontic Logics, Kevin Michael Gayler

University of Tennessee Honors Thesis Projects

No abstract provided.


Augustine, Wannabe Philosopher: The Search For Otium Honestum, Allen G. Wilson May 2014

Augustine, Wannabe Philosopher: The Search For Otium Honestum, Allen G. Wilson

University of Tennessee Honors Thesis Projects

No abstract provided.


Exhibition Of Undergraduate Research And Creative Achievement, Allen Griffith Wilson Apr 2014

Exhibition Of Undergraduate Research And Creative Achievement, Allen Griffith Wilson

EURēCA: Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement

Poster presentation and judging.


Searching For Consensus: Shared Decision Making And Clinical Ethics, Meghan Estell Bungo Dec 2013

Searching For Consensus: Shared Decision Making And Clinical Ethics, Meghan Estell Bungo

Doctoral Dissertations

The focus of this dissertation is the search for consensus in the context of clinical ethics—physician-patient interactions, ethics consultations, and ethics committee meetings focused on a particular patient’s care. I argue that consensus, when achieved through a process of shared deliberation that I outline, is the hallmark of the morally correct decision.

While philosophers have generally denigrated consensus as a guide to morally correct decisions, hospital ethics committees and President’s Councils charged with making recommendations about how to resolve moral conflicts in the clinical setting have clearly valued and aimed at the achievement of consensus. Assuming this ...


Wouldn't Future People Like To Know? A Compensation-Based Approach To Global Climate Change, Trevor Grant Hedberg Dec 2013

Wouldn't Future People Like To Know? A Compensation-Based Approach To Global Climate Change, Trevor Grant Hedberg

Masters Theses

Anthropogenic global climate change (GCC), understood as changes to the Earth’s climate system resulting from greenhouse gas emissions caused by human beings, has emerged as one of the most pressing environmental problems in human history. Proposed responses to climate change typically focus on either mitigation or adaptation. Mitigation refers to the process of lessening the effects of GCC, most often by reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases. Adaptation refers to the process of helping those who will be adversely affected by GCC adapt to the environmental changes to avoid being harmed. There is, however, a third approach to the ...