Brain Steroids: Ethical Concerns Regarding Cosmetic Neurology and Psychopharmacology

By GENNADIY KATSEVMAN ABSTRACT: Advancements in the field of medicine have created several novel ethical concerns. Developments in neuroscience, for example, have resulted in the creation of a new field called “neuroethics.” This paper addresses the neuroethical issue of psychopharmacological enhancement; should society have rules against psychopharmacological enhancement or “brain steroids,” particularly in academia? If so, on what guidelines should the rules be based? I argue that there should be no major restrictions against enhancement itself, although drugs that are blatantly harmful should be prohibited as with therapeutic drugs. In Part One, I provide arguments in favor of psychopharmacological enhancement. In Part Two, I describe and refute arguments against such enhancement. Finally, in Part Three, I provide … Continue reading Brain Steroids: Ethical Concerns Regarding Cosmetic Neurology and Psychopharmacology

Dennett’s Propositional Attitudes

By KAROLINA WISNIEWSKI ABSTRACT: The following paper will seek to do two things: succinctly outline Dennett’s defense of propositional attitudes as having causal powers over human behaviour using the intentional stance, and subsequently analyze the specific downfalls in his position which render his argument ineffective. Dennett’s wish to validate propositional attitudes stems from the desire to retain a certain degree of scientific certainty without doing away with the language of beliefs, values and intentions. His answer to the body-mind problem is to explain the how abstract sounding phenomena such as intentions are able to affect the physical actions of humans. A critical analysis, it will be … Continue reading Dennett’s Propositional Attitudes

Rorty, Connolly, and the Role of Irony

By MATT FRIBERG ABSTRACT: Despite agreeing on the importance of irony, Richard Rorty and William Connolly differ sharply on its role for the individual, and for society more broadly. That is, Rorty understands irony as of strictly personal use, whereas Connolly bases an entire public realm on ironic discourse. I will, in this paper, analyze each thinker’s views on irony’s ultimate function. That is, I will articulate Rorty’s view of ironist theory as problematic, and will attempt to apply Rorty’s claims regarding the ironist theorist to Connolly’s project. Also, I will attempt to support Rorty’s argument for liberal democracy as … Continue reading Rorty, Connolly, and the Role of Irony

On Particle-Waves, a Mediating Gaze and the Narrative Sequence

This paper works through Gilberto Perez’s theory of film narrative, clarifying his distinction between drama and narrative as relevant to understanding the singular form of cinematic narration employed in Renoir’s The Rules of the Game (1939). Rather than thinking of film as being of one primary form or another, one should recognize that such terms are primarily of functional value and should not be taken as actual properties of film, and that broadening our terms to include drama and narrative gives us more insight in talking about film and frees us from the ontological commitment of having to posit invisible, effaced narrators in film where there is no evidence.
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Letter from the Editors

For first time visitors, Shane and I would like to welcome you to the online edition of Prometheus, Johns Hopkins Undergraduate Philosophy Journal. Here you will find numerous articles and papers from undergraduate students all over the world addressing some of the fundamental problems concerning matters of existence, knowledge, language, value, mind, and reason. As a discipline, philosophy itself has withstood the test of time, instilling itself as an essential part of helping individuals understand the very nature of reality and the human condition. Prometheus was created with this thought in mind. Most importantly, we understand that philosophy thrives through … Continue reading Letter from the Editors

The Possibilities of Imagination in Hannah Arendt’s Thought

By Gary Wang In Hannah Arendt’s earlier work, The Origins of Totalitarianism, imagination is caught by totalitarian ideology leading to a denial of experience and a complicity in evil.[1] In her later work, Eichmann in Jerusalem, she explicitly condemns Eichmann’s “lack of imagination” as evidence of his inability to think and as paradigmatic of her diagnosis of totalitarian evil as banal[2]. In her Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy, Arendt’s discussion centers on how imagination is central to the faculty of judgment to possibly resist evil.[3] The relationship between Arendt’s conceptions of imagination hinges upon the existence of a space of … Continue reading The Possibilities of Imagination in Hannah Arendt’s Thought

The Case For Vague Objects

By Jaime Harrell
In this paper, I examine David Lewisʼ treatment of vagueness as a problem of “semantic indecision” and conclude that this position on vagueness is inconsistent with the metaphysics of his theory of modal realism. To reach this, I employ a thought experiment in which an exact counterpart of Lewis is subjected to a series of possible worlds treatments designed to satisfy Lewisʼ criteria for counterparthood and test the limits of semantic treatments of higher-order vagueness. I find that Lewisʼ suggestions for dealing with vagueness fails to pick out counterparts at several points in this series, even when given a satisfactorily precisified set of criteria for the qua relation. Continue reading The Case For Vague Objects

Aesthetic Futurity

By Edmund Zagorin ABSTRACT: The evolution of artistic expression is often understood to be co-productive with a certain apprehended teleology of culture: “progress”, a notion itself instantiated by false axiomatic assumptions concerning biological evolution. These meditations will seek to critically interrogate teleological assumptions by de-structively mapping the future evolution of artistic expression through a radically empirical attention to the flows of cultural raw materials, media-structures, mediums, memes and messages. By attending to processes associated with growing media digitzation, inter-connectedness and fragmenting attention span, these meditations will seek to illuminate a cultural milieu which is comprised of unprecedented structural homogeneity yet … Continue reading Aesthetic Futurity

Heidegger’s Secular Fall

By Joseph N. Rees ABSTRACT: Many commentators are extremely critical of Heidegger’s ambiguous conflation of Being-with and das Man in Being and Time. The text of Division One, Chapter Four shifts between an ethically neutral and ontologically necessary account of Dasein’s Being-with-others and an ethically saturated and contingent account of the same phenomenon, leaving the reader confused as to whether Heidegger is accepting sociality as a necessary and inexorable condition of human existence or a pervasive yet ultimately contingent impediment to authentic existence. In this paper I identify the point of confusion in Heidegger’s text and survey the dominant exegetical … Continue reading Heidegger’s Secular Fall