Intuitions and Perceptions: An Evaluation of Evidential Weight in Epistemology

By Ahmed Elsayyad, Johns Hopkins University This paper was presented at Prometheus’ 2014 Mid-Atlantic Philosophy Conference. I. Background Intuitions are quick and ready insights without any apparent rational thought. There has been debate among the philosophical community on whether intuitions can be used as reliable evidence in answering questions in epistemology. Studies have shown that intuitions can vary by factors such ethnicity and gender. If intuitions can vary by such factors, can we still say intuitions can be used as reliable evidence for philosophical arguments? Some argue that the psychological sources of intuition render it too error prone be used … Continue reading Intuitions and Perceptions: An Evaluation of Evidential Weight in Epistemology

A Minimalist Theory of Emotional Valence: A Response to Jesse Prinz

By Norah Hannel, Connecticut College This paper was presented at Prometheus’ 2014 Mid-Atlantic Philosophy Conference. By offering two counterarguments to Jesse Prinz’s explanation of valence, I will ultimately defend the view that valence depends on an emotion’s pleasantness and unpleasantness. In his book Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion (2004), Prinz gives an overview of five possible valence theories that he refutes to then propose his own alternative. Before delineating them, however, I will proffer a clearer understanding of what valence consists in. To embark with a definition in mind, “the difference between positive and negative emotions is called … Continue reading A Minimalist Theory of Emotional Valence: A Response to Jesse Prinz

The Paradox of Ontologically Violent Resistance

By James Comotto, Washington College Introduction In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire refers to “an unjust order that engenders violence in the oppressors, which in turn dehumanizes the oppressed.” (44) This violence is a sort of ontological violence because it “interferes with the individual’s ontological and historical vocation to be more fully human.” (Freire 44) In refusing to recognize the oppressed as self-affirmed beings, the oppressors perceive them as mere objects — things to be manipulated or ignored for one’s own sake. The acts of dehumanization resulting from this ontological violence enlist the oppressed in a struggle to resist. … Continue reading The Paradox of Ontologically Violent Resistance

Challenging Carel’s (2007) Phenomenological Account of Illness: What Physical Comedy May Tell Us About Defining Health and Illness

By Kaitlin Sibbald, The University of King’s College Introduction In this paper, I critically examine Havi Carel’s definitions of ‘health’ and ‘illness’ as explored in her article “Can I be Ill and Happy?”. Using analogous phenomenological accounts described in theories of comedy, I argue that Carel’s account is too limited to include all phenomenological experiences of health and illness and propose an adaptation to her definition to account for experiences she may neglect. In “Can I be Ill and Happy?”, Havi Carel argues that incorporating a phenomenological account into how we understand illness gives credence to the lived experience of … Continue reading Challenging Carel’s (2007) Phenomenological Account of Illness: What Physical Comedy May Tell Us About Defining Health and Illness

Virtue in an Unjust Society: Do We Need a Consequentialist Perspective to Flourish?

By Kaitlin Sibbald, The University of King’s College In this paper, I will examine the role of virtue in an unjust world. I will begin by giving a brief account of virtue theory, as described by Aristotle. Drawing on ideas from Lisa Tessman, I will subsequently argue that when society is unjust, acting virtuously may prevent people from cultivating virtuous traits, prevent even the most virtuous person from flourishing, and direct those who pursue virtue away from flourishing rather than towards it. Next, I will provide arguments from Tessman and Chris Frakes, who suggest that we may need to redefine … Continue reading Virtue in an Unjust Society: Do We Need a Consequentialist Perspective to Flourish?

Necessity and Counterfactual Discourse

By James Walsh The question “Is water necessarily H2O?” has a more complicated answer than may appear at first blush. To answer the question, one must first distinguish between conceptual and metaphysical necessity. By differentiating between these two types of necessity, it becomes clear that water is not necessarily H2O on a conceptual level. Whether water is necessarily H2O on a metaphysical level depends on the understanding of the word “water” on the part of the person who is judging whether water is metaphysically necessarily H2O. First I will expound upon the notion of conceptual necessity. Then I will evaluate … Continue reading Necessity and Counterfactual Discourse

Ficino’s Five Questions: A Christian Platonist Response to Aristotle’s Problem of Happiness

By Aaron David Aristotle is known for his philosophy and for his being Plato’s most prized student and intellectual companion. Perhaps Aristotle’s most influential and widely read work is his Nicomachean Ethics, which was, and still is, considered a seminal argument for the value of moral and intellectual virtue. The Ethics does more than argue for virtue; it also discusses human nature and the human condition. This paper will show that Aristotle argues that humankind most deeply desires a “perfect” happiness: one that that is complete, lasting the whole of one’s life, and sufficient in itself to render each day … Continue reading Ficino’s Five Questions: A Christian Platonist Response to Aristotle’s Problem of Happiness

Liberating the Kantian Sublime: Sublimity as Humanism, and Inquiries into the Poetically Sublime

By James Zainaldin Abstract: Kant’s sublime experience is limited by two primary factors: 1) it finds its significance almost exclusively in the moral and religious and 2) it has no place in the sphere of human-produced works. A close reading of Kant’s Analytic of the Sublime returns the understanding that neither of these limitations is an essential property of the sublime experience, however. Indeed, questioning the Kantian sublime’s moral implications actually demonstrates that the sublime is of vital importance to human experience more broadly: the sublime, through its affirmation of the human mind, celebrates and instills a deep appreciation for … Continue reading Liberating the Kantian Sublime: Sublimity as Humanism, and Inquiries into the Poetically Sublime

Egypt, Libya, and the Just War: Lenin versus Gandhi

By Omar Quinonez Abstract: The ‘Arab Spring’ has finally seen its light. Revolutions are sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. Tunisia and Egypt have experience the collapse of decades-long regimes through peaceful protests, while Libya has taken the path of armed struggle. Such differences bring the Arab Spring to the philosophical table. What is the correct path for revolution? Are the Libyan rebels philosophically justified in their armed struggle? Or is non-violence the only ethical path for the Arab Spring? In short, the philosophical question for the Arab people is the question of the just war. This paper is … Continue reading Egypt, Libya, and the Just War: Lenin versus Gandhi