Philosophy Undergraduate Theses

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    Going Full Circle: How to Implement Circular Economy
    (2023) Rodriguez Fernandez, Javier; Glowienka, Edward; Roncalli, Elvira; Dimian, Adel
    In society’s quest for progress in every single aspect of life, humanity has clearly pushed the boundaries of what can be exploited out of nature past the limit in the last few years, which has resulted in severe climate change and scarcity of resources. To avoid facing a catastrophic crisis, this thesis discusses the logic and philosophic shortcomings of our current linear economy in relation with both philosophical thinkers and ideas such as the Lockean proviso or John Rawls’ politic theory, and tools and thought processes used in the business world to talk about economics such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs or game theory. The first chapter of this thesis discusses the reasons to abandon capitalism and the current linear economy models and engages in metaphysical thought of the concept of economics to build the minimum framework of what is expected of an economic model. The second chapter addresses in depth the model of linear economy and why it fails to fulfill the minimum requirements of a desirable economic model. The last chapter talks about circular economy as the logical evolution and alternative to linear economy models. It builds a model proposed as a possible future of a global circular economy implementation. It explains how circular economy fulfills with the minimum requirements of a desirable economic model and introduces the concepts of duality of property and the attribution of life and death to objects that hold sentimental value as necessary to reach that goal.
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    Meaning, Morality, and the Good: Articulating the Self through Nietzsche, Sartre, Taylor, and Murdoch
    (2023) Gold, Greyson; Glowienka, Edward; Roncalli, Elvira; Pavlakis, Dean
    In this paper, I seek to establish a Best Account of the self as it relates to two of the self’s fundamental components, meaning and morality. Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Paul Sartre’s phenomenological accounts of the self heavily influence contemporary thinking about the self, but I argue that their accounts of meaning and morality are insufficient to explain the whole of those concepts, and thus, the whole of the self. Applying the thought of Charles Taylor and Iris Murdoch, I seek to articulate a Best Account of the self which more fully addresses morality and meaning. Additionally, I discuss the utility of narrative art in articulating the self and argue that good narrative art supports my teleological ontology. In the first chapter, I summarize Nietzsche’s and Sartre’s notions of the self and what their ideas entail about meaning and morality. In the second chapter, analyzing the thought of Taylor, Murdoch, and Susan Wolf, I articulate an alternate explanatory account of the self. In the third chapter, I discuss narrative art and its power to reveal and articulate aspects of the self. The moral self is not limitable to a Nietzschean ‘becoming’ or an existential ‘willing’ but must be explained in relation to the Good, an object of attention and love, an end for moral growth, and grounding for meaning and morality.
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    “I’m Here to Understand You”: The Roles of the First, Second, and Third-Person Perspectives in Empathy
    (2023) Breit, Julianna; Glowienka, Edward; Roncalli, Elvira; Otto-Hitt, Stefanie
    The project of empathy marks a long-standing debate between Theory of Mind defenders and phenomenologists. While they differ on their mechanisms of empathy, their research generally circles around the same question, “Do we or do we not have access to the mind of another person?” The work surrounding this question has produced many fruitful and fascinating discussions about empathy’s mechanisms and interpersonal influence. And yet, with all the focus on what empathy is doing in us, the literature has often failed to address what we should be doing with empathy. In this thesis, I propose a conceptual framework for empathetically responding to others by identifying the roles we play in an interpersonal encounter. Because our roles vary based on our relationship to the other and the context in which we are encountering them, I also offer a normative analysis of what empathy ought to accomplish. In acknowledgement that the Kantian “ought” implies “can,” I integrate sociological, biological, and technological literature to address who can empathize in terms of the three-perspectives. Ultimately, my aim is to provide an educated entry point for conversation and reflection on how to communicate empathetically, whether that be as a participant in a relationship or as an academic analyzing relationships.
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    Moral Authority in Scientific Research
    (2019-04-01) Sowers, Evelyn; Barry Ferst; John Rowley; Elvira Roncalli
    This paper addresses the issue of applying moral guidelines to modern scientific research and who or what should have the authority to do so. It examines the role of morality in scientific research, and makes the argument that moral authority over scientific research should come from the scientific community. This argument is based on two premises: (1) that the scientific community is of sufficient moral character to guide the direction of scientific research and (2) that the scientific community has sufficient expertise to make informed moral decisions about scientific research.
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    Existence and Kierkegaard
    (1969-04-01) Sullivan, John; Rev. Francis Wiegenstein; Rev. Cornelius Kelly; Rev. Emmett O'Neill
    This thesis Is an attempt to present and share a student’s appreciation of Kierkegaard’s thought with regard to existence. As a summary and synthesis of his effort, it is inadequate, for it merely presents an introduction to the richness of the complex man that was Kierkegaard. It will, I hope, however, serve as a guide for the clarification of a number of specific points which must be preliminary to an attempt at understanding Kierkegaard. Finally, I hope that this would be a source of stimulation to those who might wish to pursue Kierkegaard where he is most properly found, in his own writings, many of which are now available in English translation. By way of presentation this thesis is divided into three parts. The first part presents some basic understanding of his life, his place in history, his attitude and direction of mind, and, most important, his method. The second part is a summary presentation of Kierkegaard’s understanding of "existence” as the primary task of man. In this second section, the presentation of existence is thematically organized on the basis of the four essential characteristics of freedom, tension or anxiety, becoming, and temporality and historicity. The third and final section concerns the means, according to Kierkegaard, whereby authentic human existence is achieved