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A Political Critique of the Objectification of Science and Religion

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This essay explores the role of religion, science, and the secular in contemporary society by showing their connection to social and political legitimacy as a result of historical processes. In Chapter One, the essay presents historical arguments, particularly linguistic, which

This essay explores the role of religion, science, and the secular in contemporary society by showing their connection to social and political legitimacy as a result of historical processes. In Chapter One, the essay presents historical arguments, particularly linguistic, which confirm science and religion as historically created categories without timeless or essential differences. Additionally, the current institutional separation of science and religion was politically motivated by the changing power structures following the Protestant Reformation. In Chapter Two, the essay employs the concept of the modern social imaginary to show how our modern concept of the political and the secular subtly reproduce the objectified territories of science and religion and thus the boundary maintenance dialectic which dominates science-religion discourse. Chapter Three argues that ‘religious’ worldviews contain genuine metaphysical claims which do not recognizably fit into these modern social categories. Given the destabilizing forces of globalization and information technology upon the political authority of the nation-state, the way many conceptualize of these objects religion, science, and the secular will change as well.

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2018-05

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Joseph Rotblat, the Physicist Who Left the Manhattan Project: a Biography of Scientific Responsibility

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Joseph Rotblat (1908-2005) was the only physicist to leave the Manhattan Project for moral reasons before its completion. He would spend the rest of his life advocating for nuclear disarmament. His activities for disarmament resulted in the formation, in 1957,

Joseph Rotblat (1908-2005) was the only physicist to leave the Manhattan Project for moral reasons before its completion. He would spend the rest of his life advocating for nuclear disarmament. His activities for disarmament resulted in the formation, in 1957, of the Pugwash conferences, which emerged as the leading global forum to advance limits on nuclear weapons during the Cold War. Rotblat's efforts, and the activities of Pugwash, resulted in both being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. Rotblat is a central figure in the global history of resistance to the spread of nuclear weapons. He also was an important figure in the emergence, after World War II, of a counter-movement to introduce new social justifications for scientific research and new models for ethics and professionalism among scientists. Rotblat embodies the power of the individual scientist to say "no" and thus, at least individually, put limits of conscience on his or her scientific activity. This paper explores the political and ethical choices scientists make as part of their effort to behave responsibly and to influence the outcomes of their work. By analyzing three phases of Rotblat's life, I demonstrate how he pursued his ideal of beneficial science, or science that appears to benefit humanity. The three phases are: (1) his decision to leave the Manhattan Project in 1944, (2) his role in the creation of Pugwash in 1957 and his role in the rise of the organization into international prominence and (3) his winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. These three phases of Rotblat's life provide a singular window of the history of nuclear weapons and the international movement for scientific responsibility in the 50 years since the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. While this paper does not provide a complete picture of Rotblat's life and times, I argue that his experiences shed important light on the difficult question of the individual responsibility of scientists.

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2015-05

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Brazilian Civil-Military Relations: Military Coup Risk Analysis

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This thesis deals primarily with contemporary Brazilian civil-military relations. For most of the 20th century Brazil’s political system was stuck in a cycle of repeated military intervention. At present, Brazil operates as an electoral democracy and has kept the military

This thesis deals primarily with contemporary Brazilian civil-military relations. For most of the 20th century Brazil’s political system was stuck in a cycle of repeated military intervention. At present, Brazil operates as an electoral democracy and has kept the military out of politics since 1985. In order to understand the likelihood of another coup d’état, this thesis considers threats to the military’s corporate interests and deflations of the government’s political legitimacy within Brazil. Given the lack of significant threats to the military’s self-interest and the absence of serious legitimacy deflations, the Brazilian government appears unlikely to have a coup d’état in the near future. It is, however, important to remember that the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics could challenge Brazil’s current political stability and alter the likelihood of military intervention.

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2014-05

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Highly Gifted Students in the Sciences: Predicting Academic Proficiency Based on Personality, Conative, and Cognitive Traits

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This study sought to identify traits that act as possible predictors of academic science proficiency of highly gifted adolescent students. A combination of cognitive, personality, and conative traits were selected for evaluation as predictors of scientific proficiency using student General

This study sought to identify traits that act as possible predictors of academic science proficiency of highly gifted adolescent students. A combination of cognitive, personality, and conative traits were selected for evaluation as predictors of scientific proficiency using student General Ability Index (GAI), Revised NEO Personality Index (NEO-PI R), and Kolbe Index scores to evaluate each, respectively. Statistical correlational analyses revealed that high expressions of the conative trait Fact Finder and the personality traits Ideas and Straight-forwardness predicted higher degrees of academic science proficiency. In contrast, lower expressions of the personality traits Excitement Seeking and Order predicted higher degrees of scientific proficiency. Further, stepwise regression confirmed that the NEO-PI R facets of Excitement Seeking and Ideas traits were significant predictors of science proficiency and suggested that the personality trait Vulnerability may also be a predictor. The repeated appearance of the Excitement Seeking and Ideas facets and the dependence of the other identified traits suggests that these traits were the most promising possible predictors of scientific proficiency in highly gifted students and should be the target of future research.

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2014-05

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Partisan Voters' Expectations for First Ladies

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This thesis determines how first ladies portray their role through their speeches and whether this role meets partisan voters' expectations. Research includes an examination of first ladies' biographical information, content analysis of various speeches, and analysis of public polls to

This thesis determines how first ladies portray their role through their speeches and whether this role meets partisan voters' expectations. Research includes an examination of first ladies' biographical information, content analysis of various speeches, and analysis of public polls to determine Republicans' and Democrats' role expectations and the role that first ladies portray. Analysis shows that first ladies meet some of their partisan voters' expectations and that party identification greatly influences the role they enact.

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2014-05

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Building an Identity: Exploring the Relationship between Colonial and Georgian Architecture to Colonial Culture in Old Virginia in the Seventeenth Century to Eighteenth Century

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The aim of this thesis is to explore the relationship between architecture and history in Virginia from 1607 to the eve of the American Revolution to create a complete historical narrative. The interdependency of history and architecture creates culturally important

The aim of this thesis is to explore the relationship between architecture and history in Virginia from 1607 to the eve of the American Revolution to create a complete historical narrative. The interdependency of history and architecture creates culturally important pieces and projects the colonist's need to connect to the past as well as their innovations in their own cultural exploration. The thesis examines the living conditions of the colonists that formed Jamestown, and describes the architectural achievements and the historical events that were taking place at the time. After Jamestown, the paper moves on to the innovations of early Virginian architecture from Colonial architecture to Georgian architecture found in Williamsburg. Conclusively, the thesis presents a historical narrative on how architecture displays a collection of ideals from the Virginian colonists at the time. The external display of architecture parallels the events as well as the economic conditions of Virginia, creating a social dialogue between the gentry and the common class in the colony of Virginia.

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Date Created
2015-05