Anthony Annunziata

An Ethics of Becoming

Elmira University

In this essay I read Friedrich Nietzsche as a systematic thinker by attempting to show how a literal, metaphysical reading of his doctrine of the eternal recurrence is both compatible with and, in fact, complementary to a reading of the doctrine as one of primarily moral implication. I do this first by establishing what I refer to as Nietzsche’s “true metaphysics of becoming,” in which I understand each of a being’s discreet influences on the external world to be a basic constitutive substance of the universe. I am thus able to make sense of Nietzsche’s more seemingly outlandish metaphysical claims about the nature of the individual while allowing for the possibility of a comfortable and systematic integration of these claims with his moral assertions.


Laura, Arias


SUNY Oneonta

Many Taoist philosophers believe that the creation of virtues, defined as principles: an accepted and expected rule of conduct, is one of humanity’s social ills due to the structure-based lifestyle they encourage and the restrictions they create.  Many establish their beliefs and lifestyle choices through virtue, as principles and morals, this which many times does not allow them to engage in the worldly functions that may be challenge these set virtues.  Principles, which are easily internalized by individuals, are many times pre-determined by past embraced, praised, admired persons, and thus are interpreted as sagacious ethics to live by. This essay explores how Taoist ideology rejects such lifestyle, as a result, allowing one to achieve genuine happiness, while at the same time comparing Taoist thought to Confucian ideals on the matter.


Zachariah Braunscheidel

The Skeptics of Science

SUNY Fredonia

In my work, I hope to explore the existing distinctions between science and pseudoscience.  Leading philosophical models of science are often found to be cumbersome and frustratingly uninformative.   For this reason I would like to introduce my own alternative philosophical criterion for science, which I have entitled: skeptical dualism.  It was my goal when undertaking this project to create a simplified, philosopher friendly means of determining which of the existing paradigms of human thought should qualify as being scientific.  I believe it is possible to identify a scientist or psudoscientist by investigating the introspective and external skepticisms of these persons.  As I argue, persons of paradigms which cannot produce introspective or external skepticisms should not be considered scientists.  While such paradigms may be vivid, useful and even informative, they are not scientific; furthermore supporters of these paradigms are not scientists, they are something else.


Monique Demopoulos

The Meaning (or Lack Thereof) of Love

SUNY New Paltz

Some readers are turned off by a misconstrued sense of nihilistic pessimism upon reading the ideas of existentialist writers such as Sartre. Meanwhile, others find optimism in the process of phenomenology; Understanding that in our inevitable strife towards immortality, we often overlook and forget to appreciate our very existence. We tend not to acknowledge what is given in our yearning to discover some divine essence beyond our being. However, before we criticize this yearning, it is the task of the phenomenologist to admit it to be part of the human condition, and thus should be appreciated as the given nature of existence. The drive towards immortality carries into all aspects of our life, including love. Love is another manifestation of our will towards immortality, and Sartre believes it is unsuccessful. That is not to say, however, that it is unnatural or that humans should not pursue it. Bearing this in mind, this paper intends to spell out Sartre’s phenomenological account of love, and explain why it is ultimately unsuccessful.


Joshua Gleim

I want to live again

Penn State University

This paper focuses on the existential aspects of the film It’s a Wonderful Life. Drawing on Jean Paul Satre’s atheistic existentialist perspective, this project investigates the intersections between film and philosophy.  The film features philosophical ideas from existentialist writings such as Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra and The Gay Science. Through comparative analysis, this research assesses what types of phenomena cause individuals to turn back to the same conditions that caused them to turn away.


Allison Griffey

Al Ghazzali’s Treatment of the Body in The Alchemy of Happiness

Belmont University

The Alchemy of Happiness by Al-Ghazzali offers a more moderate view of embodiment than most medieval philosophy, which allows for a simpler defense of God’s goodness. Many medieval writers hold the body’s influence as detrimental to spiritual development. Al-Ghazzali, however, demonstrates the body’s role in finding spiritual happiness and the contemplation of God through analysis of lust and anger, the senses, and the shared experience between a soul and the divine. Lust and anger, if controlled by reason, become useful by preserving life (physical aid) and attenuating desire (moral aid). The body’s senses disclose knowledge about the soul and God, which can act as stepping-stones toward higher knowledge, happiness, and salvation if we embrace the body as a tool for the soul and creation as a testament to God’s power, knowledge, and goodness. Overall, this conception of the body is more compatible with the widespread medieval belief in a theist God that is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, because his position provides a defense against the Problem of Evil.  As this view does not place one created part of the human (the body) in opposition with the other (the soul), the body is capable of virtue and vice as opposed to only vice. If God is omnibenevolent, and yet evil exists in the world, then stating that the body binds and deceives the soul poses more problems than it solves, and so Al-Ghazzali’s position seems to be a more reasonable one.


Caitlin Hassan


West Virginia University

Graffiti is an oft-underappreciated art form – one that usually generates restitution and criticism rather than praise.  By exploring the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, particularly The Origin of the Work of Art, I have come to understand public graffiti not only as an activity that fails to warrant condemnation, but also as an act that should be recognized for historic significance.  Drawing upon multiple Heideggerian theses, it is apparent that street art in general embodies the true meaning of “art” in ways that modern galleries fail to.  This essay illustrates a brief history of graffiti, both in America and Europe, before critically analyzing its nature in reference to Heideggerian definitions of art and concluding that art can once again be more than empty “aesthetic pleasure”.


Shaun Hardy

Aristotle’s Slavery and Slavery in the Modern World

Belmont University

First, this paper addresses the problem of slavery and Aristotle’s defense of slavery found in Politics.  In this paper I agree with Darrel Dobbs’ view of Aristotle’s slavery by putting it in context with Aristotle’s teleology, and it is argued in this paper that slavery, in Aristotle’s perspective, is a symbiotic relationship between the master and slave that is aimed ultimately at the good of a political system as a whole; the master is freed from labor so he may participate in public, political affairs and/or philosophy, and the slave is corrected out of his animalistic, juvenile tendencies which merited him for slavery in the first place.  Secondly, I look at slavery as it was in antebellum America.  I use Fredrick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass for reference, and I argue that slavery in America did not satisfy what Aristotle saw it as being for.  Slavery in America was not aimed at the fulfillment of the human telos, but rather it was a means of production, and because of this it was mutually destructive to the master and slave, the slave being reduced to an animal and the master being reduced to a tyrant.  Through this work, I hope to divorce Aristotle’s political thought from atrocities that have been committed in America and elsewhere.


Emily Jennings


SUNY Geneseo

This paper uses Aristotle’s Politics and Nicomachean Ethics as well as Confucius’ Analects to compare the philosophers’ visions of the best state. The paper finds that Aristotle’s and Confucius’ political philosophies are very similar–both philosophers conclude that the best state is led by an enlightened individual who shapes the behavior of the populace by setting a virtuous example.


August Johnson

Epistemic Dimensions and Direct Reference

SUNY Oneonta

This paper is one piece of writing which resulted from a thesis project in philosophy of language. This paper uses David Chalmers’s theory of reference epistemic two-dimensionalism, to respond to a debate between Jennifer Saul and Graeme Forbes. The course of this response delves into the problematic of explicating the modal circumstance of reference in regards to rigid designation. The papers concludes by arguing that Epistemic Two-dimensionalism is the most adequate theory for understanding modal reference and with some tweaking Two-dimensionalism can be adopted by direct reference theorist to their benefit.


Lindsey Johnson

A Poem After Aushwitz:Günter Grass, Committed Art, and Post-Holocaust Literature in the Frankfurt School


“A Poem After Auschwitz” is an exploration of the Vergangenheitsbewältigung (a coming to terms with the past) movement in contemporary German literature, using both Sartre’s “What is Writing?” and Adorno’s “Commitment” in an exploration of literary form as it relates to critical rhetoric. The literary example utilized in this paper is German writer Günter Grass, whose recent poem “Was gesagt werden muss” (What must be said) calls by name the unfinished business of the Vergangenheitsbewältigung, of which he himself is perhaps the most prominent figure. His personal history and struggle with his own past on top of that of Germany, collectively, gives Grass a double significance in this process of coming to terms with National Socialism. This paper aims, through several works of the early Frankfurt School, to illustrate the politically therapeutic role of art and literature and the importance of remaining critical in any historical position.


Gregory Joseph

Freedom From or Within

University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Notions of hope, change, social equality, and cultural variances operate at the nucleus of Democratic Liberalism. The paradox; however, is an expression of entitlement that persists under the illusory rhetoric of natural rights. I demonstrate how irreducible natural rights such as: autonomy, freedom, and rationality incapacitates the intellectual tradition of what libertarianism ought to be. The implication of this insight poses a threat to cultural accommodation of differences as well as creative intelligence. The argument upheld by John Dewey that obdurate liberal values containerize the creative possibilities of social ingenuity because of blind universal duty to fixed rights and perceived progress. As a consequence, social damage occurs when predetermined natural rights accommodate insoluble ideologies rather than cultural differences as a distinctive feature of Liberalism. In this vein, I provide a nuanced account of John Dewey’s American pragmatism and examine Max Stirner’s Individualistic Anarchism using examples in feminist pragmatism, pragmatism in race, Confucianism and Hegelian organicism.


Kung Min Kim


Penn State University

With the dominance of market values placed in society, the profit-making traits have been highly valued over humanistic values. Based on this phenomenon, the aim of education now focuses on making utilitarian beings rather than humanistic beings. Eradicating liberal arts education is a common trend in current education to produce cost-benefit analysts who fit into the market society. This trend, however, will eventually bring moral corruption into our future society. The profit-based education is what weakens the engagement in social or political activities by people which will eventually bring backlash in democracy. Furthermore, it takes away our creativity and diversity in education and then controls students to blindly conform to this standard route.  By research will primarily focus on Chomsky, Wallerstein, Whitehead, and Nussbaum commonly propose to humanize the current education system by strengthening the liberal arts education, public education, and regulating privatization of institutions to build the welfare of nation, value creativity and diversity of society, and bring back the humanitarian values into society.


Michael Lodato

Attitudes towards Tech

College of the Holy Cross

John Dewey’s discussion of technology in Experience and Nature takes a pragmatic, naturalistic approach to the analysis of what technology is and how it functions in our world. Martin Heidegger, in The Question Concerning Technology, emphasizes technology’s tendency to distort our view of Being itself by objectifying beings as instruments only (or standing- reserve). I argue that, in light of Rorty’s analysis, we cannot decide which philosophy is necessarily the right conception of technology. Instead we are left with attitudes towards technology, founded on different metaphilosophies. Metaphilosophy, I argue, has asserted its primacy in 20th century philosophy, especially in the case of Heideggerian and the Deweyan philosophy of technology.


Stephan Marrone

Losing the Forest for the Trees

University of Chicago

In the present inquiry, I explore this distinction and seek to bridge the gap between the goals of ordinary language philosophy and the early work of Martin Heidegger. I advance the position that while OLP and Heidegger may at first seem worlds apart, both projects share a common task of “laying bare the horizon” for philosophical discourse. I claim that at the heart of the work of OLP and Heidegger is a clearing away of the rhetoric, the presuppositions, and the confusing associations that make it arduous to get to the bottom of the most difficult philosophical problems. Through a close analysis of the work of J.L. Austin and Gilbert Ryle in comparison with Heidegger, I elucidate the similarities – while respecting the differences – in the method, goals, and ultimate aims of each. From this discussion, I hope to shed light on how reading OLP and Heidegger in terms of each other can deepen our understanding of both. This discussion will also explore when the creation of technical, and often times bewildering terminology is necessary and useful. How do we explain that for which we have no words? Our task ahead is then to understand the ways in which OLP and Heidegger successfully unearth the foundational philosophical concepts from which all other problems derive – for OLP; the meaning of words, for Heidegger, the meaning of Being. How does each keep sight of the forest in the trees, and lay bare the fertile soil for philosophical discourse and discovery?


Jillian McCarthy

Hume’s Critique of the Argument from Design in the Dialogues

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Throughout David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, the skeptical character Philo shows insurmountable flaws with his opponent Cleanthes’ argumen from design. However, Hume’s enigmatic final lines spoken by the mediator Pamphilus declare Cleanthes the winner: “…upon a serious review of the whole, I cannot but think that Philo’s principles are more probable than Demea’s, but that those of Cleanthes approach still nearer to the truth.”1 What could Hume possibly have meant by this? The end of the Dialogues raises questions about how seriously we should take Philo’s skepticism. This paper argues that Philo is the true winner of the debates, and that Hume recognizes this. Cleanthes represents the human tendency to believe in God as an intelligent designer, but this does not mean that he is right because his position cannot be reconciled with the huge problems that Philo shows with it. I begin by presenting the argument from design as well as Philo’s main objections to it. I will also provide Cleanthes’ responses to these objections and show why they are insufficient. Finally, I will provide my response as to why Philo is the winner, arguing that while Hume agreed with Philo, he was uncertain of how seriously to take the skeptical doubts that Philo raised and declared Cleanthes the winner in order to leave the reader suspended between the two views.


Matthew McLain

An Analysis of Noel Carroll’s Paradox of Horror A Neo Analytic Interpretation

SUNY Oneonta

This paper will serve as a cross-analysis experiment between both of these theories, as applied to philosophy of film. Specifically, the aim of this paper is to examine Noel Carroll’s paradox of horror as applied to film, and then in conjunction, interpreting the impact of the character structure on the horror genre and how this paradox is affected by those character-types. I will argue this through an ‘archetypal analysis’ of horror films. After investigating Noel Carroll’s solutions to the Paradox of Horror, which posits that our cognitive interests are what cause us to find pleasure in the horror genre. I will then elaborate further on Carroll’s stance by quoting Mary Devereaux in her review of Carroll’s position. After achieving what I hope to be a clear summarization of Carroll’s solutions, I will introduce an analysis of the characters within a horror narrative in the form of archetypes, explaining how they can affect our cognitive interests with a horror film.


Mark McGinn

Instrumentalism and Poetic Thinking

Webster University

In his Essays in Experimental Logic, John Dewey contends that philosophers have traditionally placed too great an emphasis on the processes of reflection and inquiry themselves, without considering the non-reflective context in which thought is situated. If this context is recognized in its full import, reflection and inquiry are found to occupy an “intermediate and mediating” position in the temporal development of experience. They are found, that is, to be instrumental. In the “Exposition” section of my paper, I examine and expand on this thesis of Dewey’s. In the “Critique” section, I offer a critique of his theory. Dewey requires that thought effect a physical alteration of the conditions of experience through an experimental act, the results of which retrospectively determine the legitimacy of thought. Missing from his account, however, is an explanation of the significant alteration of experience brought about by more aesthetic forms of thinking, which do not effect—nor intend to effect—any kind of physical alteration. I therefore propose that poetic thinking be invoked as a necessary supplement to instrumental thinking. In this way one avoids the pitfalls that inevitably crop up when the latter is taken to account for all forms of philosophical thought.



Enclosed Spaces    

SUNY Purchase

My paper attempts to extend the ideas Belgian feminist philosopher, linguist, and psychoanalyst Luce Irigaray puts forth in her essay, “Love of the Other,” from her An Ethics of Sexual Difference, into an analysis of gendered words in Modern English. Words like ‘woman,’ ‘she’ and ‘female’ look like their masculine counterparts – ‘man,’ ‘he’ and ‘male’ – with extra bits tacked on. Similarly curious constructions are to be found in other languages central to the Western philosophical canon, including Greek, Latin, German and French. Why is this? It would seem the ‘bits tacked on’ are modifiers of the masculine roots; however, etymological analysis reveals that the Middle English and Old English ancestors to these words had no such relationships to one another. Why has this morphological change occurred, and what does this imply about the gender ethics of Western philosophical writing? I situate the answers to these questions within the larger ideological framework of Irigaray’s conception of sexual difference.


Alexander Mosa

On Determined Indeterminacy

University of Toronto

The question of “what depends on us” (to eph’ hemin) has long concerned philosophy. That it is one requiring layers of interwoven theories to answer is evident in the nexus of ideas of human responsibility put forward. Ultimately, this question cannot be addressed in a vacuum of moral psychology. Metaphysical, epistemological, physical-chemical, and physiological concepts must be married to establish first, that the universe is not determined, and second, that its indeterminacy is instantiated via the agency of immaterial intellects (asomatotaton nous). In this sense our task is more difficult than the ancient’s, as we have a larger corpus of philosophic and scientific doctrine that require attention. Determining to eph’ hemin requires an account of how anything can be up to us in a universe that is subatomically causally determined. The interweaving of metaphysical and physical concepts will show that the universe was determined to become indetermined. As indeterminacy exists only in the activity of asomatotaton nous, by identifying the immaterial intellect we will be in a position to say to eph’ hemin, and which of our brain states, as causally determined, do not.


Keegan Nichols

A Bridge Between Two Worlds: The Tao of Immanuel Kant

Lehigh University

There are many methods by which people understand new philosophies. It is often helpful to utilize comparative techniques in conjunction with more familiar, Western, ideas to understand the more abstract and unfamiliar writing of Eastern scholars. This paper attempts to draw parallels between ideas of respect, humility, and right-action in Laozi’s, The Daodejing, and duties of love and respect in Immanuel Kant’s various ethical works. In choosing Kant, arguably the most studied philosopher in contemporary academia, as a point of comparison, Laozi becomes much easier to comprehend, being that most people who are interested in philosophy have become acquainted with Kant at some time. Focusing on Kant’s ideas about duties of respect and duties of love, this paper attempts to stitch together two philosophical systems that, at face value, seem antithetical to one another.


Juan Sebastian Rivera

Back to Rawls

Middlebury College

This paper argues that in John Ralwls’ theory of justice, a liberal community allows the construction of a contingent human narration. Citizens of such a society see their particular plans of life, their private conception of self-creation, as the intersection between the public recognition of justice and a person’s private sense of good. This view contrasts with Richard Rorty’s liberal ironists who hold a firm distinction between the private sense of self and the public recognition of liberal values. A Theory of Justice proposes a social union of social unions where a person’s plan of life in terms of Rorty’s contingent redescription does not need to drop a public recognition of the conception of the good and a sense of justice.


Andrew Sblendorio

When You Play, You Have To Mean It

SUNY Fredonia

When You Play, You Have To Mean It is a discourse on an expressionist theory of what constitutes music. Topics include a definition of music, how music seems to bear emotions, and how our subjective intentions could synchronize with the physical matter that makes up music.


Aaron Segal

Knowing that One Knows

University of Chicago

John McDowell and Timothy Williamson have views on perceptual knowledge that, due to their great difference in writing style, can be interpreted as quite dissimilar. Specifically, I analyze their views of perceptual knowledge in general through their positions on the conclusiveness of warrant, the nature of perceptual presence, and knowledge that one knows. While an intuitive reading of each view suggests disagreement between McDowell and Williamson on each of these issues, a more careful interpretation reveals extensive compatibility between their positions, particularly on the issues of the conclusiveness of warrant and the nature of perceptual presence. I accordingly lay out a view of perceptual knowledge that synthesizes the two philosophers’ positions. Their views on knowledge that one knows, however, remain incompatible; McDowell takes such second-order knowledge to follow directly from first-order perceptual knowledge, while Williamson understands the achievement of knowledge that one knows to be far more difficult than first-order perceptual knowledge. Accordingly, I attempt to determine which philosopher’s view on knowledge that one knows is preferable with respect to the synthetic position that I argue accurately represents each philosopher’s general position on perceptual knowledge. The disagreement between McDowell and Williamson over knowledge that one knows, I suggest, ultimately results from disagreement over what sorts of cases of perceptual knowledge should be considered paradigmatic.


Chad Shipman

A Critique of Ayer: Verifying Religious Propositions

Hartwick College

A. J. Ayer, in his book Language, Truth, and Logic claims that religious propositions are not what he calls “significant” because they are metaphysical. I first explain why Ayer thinks as much. Then, contrary to Ayer, I argue that religious propositions are “significant” in the respect that they are not metaphysical. Rather, they may be evaluated (and thus verified or falsified) with scientific means.


Rachel Siden

Science and Miracles

University of Massachusetts Amherst

In an age where science can effectively interpret the mechanics of the natural world and provide explanations for mystical phenomena, a belief in miracles is typically regarded as unnecessary. Why believe that an event was an act of God when science can provide an explanation for it? In addition, it is asserted that even if miracles were real, they would be irreconcilably incompatible with a scientific understanding of the world. I argue that though science is viewed as deterministic and dependent upon a causal continuum of natural events, it is not impossible for miracles to be compatible with science. It is still a question as to whether a belief in miracles is justified, but I believe that a possible existence of miracles does not undermine a scientific understanding of the world.


Kelsey Smith

Corporation’s Fulfillment of Conditions of Personhood

College of the Holy Cross

When issues of morality are discussed, they generally revolve around human beings.  It is usually agreed upon that when a person lies, cheats, or steals, it is wrong because it is widely perceived that human beings are moral agents.  While it is likewise intuitive that it is wrong when a corporation lies, cheats, or steals, philosophers often halt at the logical presupposition that would follow: Corporations must possess morality.  In order to consider a highly organized collective such as a corporation to be a moral agent, it must be proven that the collective exists, is an agent, and further is a moral agent, meaning that it is capable of acting appropriately on the basis of morally relevant information.  In another method, however, it is possible to recognize that highly organized collectives such as corporations are moral agents by proving that corporations are in fact persons themselves as any agent that meets the requirements of personhood is therefore capable of moral agency.  Through an interpretation of what constitutes personhood drawn from the generally agreed-upon principles among philosophers Daniel Dennett, Mary Anne Warren, Harry Frankfurt, and Michael McKenna it becomes clear that highly organized collectives, or corporations such as Enron, in fact meet such standards of personhood and are therefore capable of moral agency.


Jordan Ueborroth

Possible Parthood and Modal-Mereological Composition

Michigan State University

Ted Sider’s Four-Dimensionalism (2001) has been influential in framing the contemporary metaphysical debate concerning persistence.  Sider offers several compelling arguments favoring the existence of temporal parts, chief among them his ‘Argument from Vagueness’ – or the argument for unrestricted diachronic composition (UDC), as I will call it.  I argue that if we take the world-time parallel seriously, then those who hold that the UDC establishes the existence of temporal parts should also hold that its modal analogue, the argument for unrestricted modal composition (UMC), establishes the existence of modal parts.  Just as UDC establishes that ordinary objects are temporally extended mereological composites (composed of temporal parts), UMC establishes that ordinary objects are modally extended mereological composites (composed of modal parts).   UDC grants the existence of objects entirely composed of, say, the molecules in David Lewis’s hand in 1980 and the molecules in Ursa Major in 1950, whereas UMC grants the existence of objects entirely composed of, say, Ted Sider (who exists in the actual world) and a unicorn (which exists in a non-actual possible world).  I claim that there is at least as good a reason to believe that UDC establishes the existence of temporal-mereological composites as there is to believe that UMC establishes the existence of modal-mereological composites.   First, I outline UDC (§1).  Next, I argue that there is good reason to believe the world-time parallel to be a metaphysical parallel, then I formulate UMC (§2).  Finally, I raise and respond to the following objections:  UMC is committed to possibilism; UMC does not motivate the idea that the parthood relation can occur across worlds (§3).


Katrina Vega

An Examination of the Conclusiveness of Freud’s Critique of Religion and its Relation to the Psychoanalytic Theory

Ithaca College

Sigmund Freud is often regarded as one of the most influential and controversial figures of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Today, he is best known as the founder of psychoanalysis: a metatheory of motivation and personality development within psychology. In addition to Freud’s interest personality, he was also intrigued by the relationship between the individual and society. Throughout his life, Freud published several works concerning culture, civilization, and religion. In particular, within The Future of an Illusion, Freud examines the relationship between civilization and religion through the psychoanalytic perspective. From this discussion, Freud concludes that religion is an “illusion” (40) and “the universal obsessional neurosis of humanity” (55) which must be overcome though engagement with reason.The focus of this paper is to examine the conclusiveness of Freud’s critique of religion, even when one grants that religion is an illusion. It shall also examine how the psychoanalytic theory informs Freud’s critique. This paper will open with a discussion of Freud’s critique of religion as developed within The Future of an Illusion. It will then examine Freud’s critique through a discussion of the relationship between religion, illusion and creativity. Next, it will examine the argument that Freud’s critique lacks conclusiveness because he illustrates an incomplete understanding of religion. The paper will conclude with a discussion of how the grounds on which Freud develops his argument against religion can also be used to critique the use of the psychoanalytic theory as a scientific tool for the examination of religion.


John Watson
Forgiveness in Action is Lovely
University of Hawaii

This essay is a short treatise on forgiveness. Somewhat unsatisfied with the seemingly casual definition of forgiveness as simply a verb which describes the loss somehow of certain negative feelings and inspired into dialogue on the subject by Hannah Arendt‟s symposium The Human Condition, where she touched on forgiveness as a kind of work performed by man in the social sphere. Essentially mortal man is bound by the irreversibility of our actions and lacks the ability to truly predict potential outcomes. In our inevitable dealings we find that actions can harm us and others. Once the act is done, there is no taking it back. Our experience of life is filled with both the acts of being wronged and of committing harm to others, intentionally or not. These interactions are fundamental to our human social experience, in fact these relationships define us. From the moment of our birth to our passing, our lives are filled with these interactions on various levels and essential to continuing to live through these interactions when bound by irreversibility and unpredictability is the need for the act of forgiveness. The recognition of the human plight and the understanding that not only do we all need to be forgiven but that our capacity for forgiveness is potentially unlimited.

Joseph Ziff

Reconfiguring the Realm of Law

Haverford College

This paper examines McDowell’s metaphysical notion of the space of reasons. Under his understanding of the space of reasons we have that concepts directly access features of things themselves as opposed to simply stopping at the objects produced by sensibility. This paper tries to make this notion more intuitive by fighting against a specific idea, referred to McDowell as ‘the realm of law’, under which reality is identical to the mathematical structures of science. Under a realm of law notion the process of science reveals truths of reality from a sideways-on perspective. This can seem contradictory since we as practitioners of science do science from within our own perspective. By using the notion of Fregean sense it aims to create the idea that science as applied to reality reveals new features of the things themselves by giving us new sense-concept modalities. A sense-concept modality is something akin to a new sense-modality like that of sight but instead as operated by the mind directly on the things themselves. Thus science allows us to actualize new features of the world we live in as opposed to accessing the world from a god’s eye point of view. Finally this paper, will based on the above work, theorizes on a neo-Aristotelian metaphysics of substances, wherein the only things that end up being things in of themselves will be: 1. animals with their forms of life and 2. the elementary non-divisible building blocks of reality in so far they can be discerned.


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