Matching Items (17)

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Exploring Disability: From Personal Struggles to Social Opportunity

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The term disability inherently suggests a lack of ability that, if corrected or mitigated, can—and should—be turned from a negative into a positive. People with disabilities have embraced the term out of a sense of unity and pride, but we

The term disability inherently suggests a lack of ability that, if corrected or mitigated, can—and should—be turned from a negative into a positive. People with disabilities have embraced the term out of a sense of unity and pride, but we are not willing to embrace the underlying social attitudes that go along with it. Activists in the Disability Rights Movement continue fighting for equal rights, while academics in the field of disability studies produce work that examines and elucidates disability as a complex socio-political category. Still, unlike other social categories, disability remains outside the scope of mainstream consideration beyond cures, accommodations, and inspiration. This paper presents disability from different angles with the goal of expanding the reader’s conception of the topic and encouraging further discussion in mainstream circles. I start with a personal narrative of my life as a disabled person and discuss how I began to see abstract connections between my experiences and those of people in other marginalized social groups. In subsequent sections, I examine the following: theoretical models of disability and their practical implications; some ways in which stigma surrounding disability prevents progress; how the concept of disability has been used against social groups throughout history, causing them to work towards distancing themselves from the danger and unconsciously legitimizing some underlying causes of marginalization, and whether disability should be a part of the future. I close by explaining how general support in the realm of higher education offers people with disabilities the best hope for a path forward. Although this paper is constructed using philosophical insights, the writing style and structure are not representative of the discipline.

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2020-05

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Peace and Propaganda: A Look into the Self-Serving Characteristics of the Peace Corps

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The American government does not come without its fair share of problems, though it will often utilize different forms of propaganda in order to distract from those problems. This thesis sought to expose the Peace Corps as one of the

The American government does not come without its fair share of problems, though it will often utilize different forms of propaganda in order to distract from those problems. This thesis sought to expose the Peace Corps as one of the most overlooked, but successful, forms of America’s propaganda. Research questions created for this study are as follows: What were the driving forces behind the Peace Corps’ creation? What are the qualifications necessary for a host country to partner with the Peace Corps, and what relevant assistance did the Peace Corps provide for these host countries? Using sources that retold the Peace Corps’ history, spoke on hegemony, and imperialism, as well as statements from Peace Corps volunteers, the study conducted over months answered the questions above. Results revealed that the Peace Corps ultimately provided more benefit for the United States than the host countries and is a modern-day example of America’s soft-power imperialism.

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2021-05

Pretrial Detainee Abuse

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PTD Abuse Abstract
In this project I hope to educate people in the area of pre-trial detainee abuse. I define the terms, explain the problems, give information on how the issue has evolved in recent decades. I explain

PTD Abuse Abstract
In this project I hope to educate people in the area of pre-trial detainee abuse. I define the terms, explain the problems, give information on how the issue has evolved in recent decades. I explain my interest in the issue and give background of my involvement. There is special focus on New York City, specifically Rikers Island and the Stop and Frisk program engaged in by police there. There is also focus on Maricopa County and Joe Arpaio due to the incredible amount of abuse suffered by people at the hands of Maricopa County Sheriff’s jail personnel over twenty four years of Arpaio’s tenure. There is a section on mental illness and disabilities whose sufferers are especially susceptible to abuse. I report on law enforcement abuses and the evolution of court decisions that allow officers more opportunity for abuse and the ability to deceive people they are investigating. There is an Innocence Project report that details law enforcement expanding the ability to deceive people they are investigating, to lying to the courts and during testimony. My hope is to educate more people to the problems I describe. I also report on changes being made to alleviate the problems.

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Date Created
2019-12

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Logical generics and gay identity

Description

Gays identity is usually cast in generics--statements about an indeterminate number of members in a given category. Sometimes these generic statements often get built up into folk definitions, vague and imprecise ways to talk about objects. Other times generics get

Gays identity is usually cast in generics--statements about an indeterminate number of members in a given category. Sometimes these generic statements often get built up into folk definitions, vague and imprecise ways to talk about objects. Other times generics get co-opted into authentic definitions, definitions that pick out a few traits and assert that real members of the class have these traits and members that do not are simply members by a technicality. I assess how we adopt these generic traits into our language and what are the ramifications of using generic traits as a social identity. I analyze the use of authentic definitions in Queer Theory, particularly Michael Warner's use of authentic traits to define a normative Queer identity. I do not just simply focus on what are the effects, but how these folk or authentic definitions gain currency and, furthermore, how can they be changed. I conclude with an analytic account of what it means to be gay and argue that such an account will undercut many of the problems associated with folk or authentic definitions about being gay.

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2012

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Moral responsibility and quality of will

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This dissertation puts forth an account of moral responsibility. The central claim defended is that an agent's responsibility supervenes on the agent's mental states at the time of the action. I call the mental states that determine responsibility the agent's

This dissertation puts forth an account of moral responsibility. The central claim defended is that an agent's responsibility supervenes on the agent's mental states at the time of the action. I call the mental states that determine responsibility the agent's quality of will (QOW). QOW is taken to concern the agent's action, understood from an internal perspective, along with the agent's motivations, her actual beliefs about the action, and the beliefs she ought to have had about the action. This approach to responsibility has a number of surprising implications. First, blameworthiness can come apart from wrongness, and praiseworthiness from rightness. This is because responsibility is an internal notion and rightness and wrongness are external notions. Furthermore, agents can only be responsible for their QOW. It follows that agents cannot be responsible for the consequences of their actions. I further argue that one's QOW is determined by what one cares about. And the fact that we react to the QOW of others with morally reactive emotions, such as resentment and gratitude, shows that we care about QOW. The reactive attitudes can therefore be understood as ways in which we care about what others care about. Responsibility can be assessed by comparing one's actual QOW to the QOW one ought to have had.

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Date Created
2011

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Finding character [electronic resource]: character and the challenge from situationism

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Recently, philosophers have charged that Aristotelian-based virtue theories are empirically inadequate because the conception of character in which they are grounded is largely unfounded by findings in psychology. These philosophers argue in favor of situationism, the theory from social psychology

Recently, philosophers have charged that Aristotelian-based virtue theories are empirically inadequate because the conception of character in which they are grounded is largely unfounded by findings in psychology. These philosophers argue in favor of situationism, the theory from social psychology that situational rather than dispositional differences among individuals are in large part responsible for human behavior. Situationists dispute the existence of traits that remain consistent across time and diverse situations and argue that features of situations can better explain and predict human behavior. After analyzing the psychological literature and historical cases put forth as evidence for situationism as well as the basic premises grounding arguments against situationism, I make some conclusions about the best responses to situationism. I agree with situationists that Aristotelian-based virtue and character are not quite empirically adequate but disagree that human behavior owes more to situational rather than dispositional determinants. Basing my theory on literature from social psychology, I argue instead that a concept of character grounded in social-cognitive theory is more psychologically realistic and can explain and predict human behavior and ground a character-based virtue theory. A social-cognitive conception of character would highlight the dynamic role between situations and individual psychological factors like beliefs, values, desires and the way that an individual perceives a situation. I sketch out a non-ideal theory of virtue based in a social-cognitive conception of character that is partially dependent on social networks for its maintenance and is fragmented, or contextualized to particular types of psychological situations. However, fragmented and socially dependent virtue is not an optimal type of virtue because it is vulnerable to situational features that place strong psychological pressures on agents to behave in various ways, including ways they would not have normally endorsed. I agree with Aristotelian virtue ethicists that argue that a type of practical wisdom can help to counter the often unwanted and dangerous influence of these strong situations but also maintain that some measure of moral luck is inevitably involved, even in the development of practical wisdom.

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2012

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Moral disillusion: shattering moral illusions for the sake of taking responsibility

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I present in this dissertation a theory of moral disillusion. In chapter 1 I explain moral innocence and its loss. I show that becoming morally responsible requires shattering the illusion that one is not an appropriate candidate for the reactive

I present in this dissertation a theory of moral disillusion. In chapter 1 I explain moral innocence and its loss. I show that becoming morally responsible requires shattering the illusion that one is not an appropriate candidate for the reactive attitudes. The morally responsible individual must understand that she can be an agent of wrongdoing. In chapter 2 I explore the nature of the understanding that accompanies the different phases of disillusion. I show that moral disillusion is an ability, not to follow moral principles, but to question them. In chapter 3 I argue that another phase of disillusion involves an acquaintance with evil. One shatters the illusion that only malicious individuals can be evildoers. Morally good people can also bring about evil. I conclude that evil is the exploitation of the extremely vulnerable. In chapters 4 and 5, I analyze more complex phases of moral disillusion. These stages are characterized by an understanding that one can be an agent of unchosen evil, that one might bring about evil even when pursuing the morally best course of action, and that one can be morally responsible for doing so. In order to understand unchosen evil and the tragedy of inescapable moral wrongdoing, the individual sees that moral responsibility ought to track what we care about, rather than what we believe. In chapter 6 I show that Kierkegaard's conception of the self is a philosophy of moral disillusion. I argue that his prescription that we shatter moral illusions is congruent with Harry Frankfurt's prescription that we ought to care about some things and not others. From this discussion emerges the explicit distinction between moral disillusion and moral goodness. Moreover, I conclude that the morally disillusioned are morally accountable for more than those still harboring moral illusions. Although moral disillusion does not entail becoming morally good, by acquiring the ability to raise questions about moral principles and to affect the content of one's cares, one acquires the ability to take responsibility for, and potentially minimize, evil. To have and understand these abilities, but not to care about them, increases one's moral accountability.

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Date Created
2012

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Equal treatment for equal relevance: the unjustifiable exemption of farm animals from animal cruelty laws

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In the past 100 years pet, zoo/aquarium, and research animals have gained unprecedented legal protection from unnecessary human harm via the creation of strict animal cruelty laws. Due to the work of moral philosophers and compassionate lawyers/judges animal cruelty laws

In the past 100 years pet, zoo/aquarium, and research animals have gained unprecedented legal protection from unnecessary human harm via the creation of strict animal cruelty laws. Due to the work of moral philosophers and compassionate lawyers/judges animal cruelty laws have been improved to provide harsher punishments for violations, had their scopes widened to include more animals and had their language changed to better match our evolving conception of animals as independent living entities rather than as merely things for human use. However, while the group of pet, zoo/aquarium, and research animals has enjoyed more consideration by the US legal system, another group of animals has inexplicably been ignored. The farm animals that humans raise for use as food are exempted from nearly every state and federal animal cruelty law for no justifiable reason. In this paper I will argue that our best moral and legal theories concede that we should take animal suffering seriously, and that no relevant difference exists between the group of animals protected by animal cruelty laws and farm animals. Given the lack of a relevant distinction between these two groups I will conclude that current animal cruelty laws should be amended to include farm animals.

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Date Created
2012

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A new foundation for the disciplines of philosophy and psychology: unification without consilience

Description

Do emotions help explain our behaviors? Can they condemn us, excuse us, orr mitigate our moral responsibility orr blameworthiness? Can they explain our rationality and irrationality, orr warrant such attributions? Can they be justified orr warranted? Are they constitutive aspects

Do emotions help explain our behaviors? Can they condemn us, excuse us, orr mitigate our moral responsibility orr blameworthiness? Can they explain our rationality and irrationality, orr warrant such attributions? Can they be justified orr warranted? Are they constitutive aspects of our consciousness, identity, characters, virtues, orr epistemic status? The answer to these questions, at least to a significant extent, depends on what emotions are. This illustrates the importance of what emotions are to academics across multiple disciplines, as well as to members of governing bodies, organizations, communities, and groups. Given the great importance of emotions to various aspects of our lives, this dissertation is about the relevance of the topic of emotion as an area of study for the discipline of philosophy. This dissertation is also broadly about the need to bridge the interests, concerns, and collective bodies of knowledge between various distinct disciplines, thereby contributing to the process of unifying knowledge across the various disciplines within the realm of academia.

The primary aim in this dissertation is to initiate the unification of the interests, concerns, and collective bodies of knowledge across disciplines of academia. To do so, however, this dissertation aims to bridge some disciplinary divides between the disciplines of philosophy and psychology. I fulfill this aim by first demonstrating that interdisciplinary research and theorizing is needed within the disciplines of philosophy and psychology. I do this by considering how the problem of skepticism arises within these two disciplines. I also derive, propose, and argue for the acceptance of a new foundation for academic research and theorizing in response to the problem of skepticism. I refer to my proposal, in general, as The Proposal for Unification without Consilience (UC).

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Date Created
2014

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What Do Gendered Machines Mean? Gender Representation and the Dynamics of Representational Claim-Forming in Intelligent Machines

Description

Technology has a representation problem. While, in recent years, much more attention has been given to how developing technologies exacerbate social injustices and the marginalization of historically oppressed groups, discussions surrounding the representation of marginalized voices are still in a

Technology has a representation problem. While, in recent years, much more attention has been given to how developing technologies exacerbate social injustices and the marginalization of historically oppressed groups, discussions surrounding the representation of marginalized voices are still in a somewhat nascent state. In pursuing a future where underrepresented groups are no longer underrepresented (or misrepresented) in technological developments, I use this thesis project to draw attention to how gendered technologies are said to represent women as a class. To frame the sort of representation problem I have in mind here, I explore the dynamics of representing others as being a certain way, how individuals can be justified in their practice of representing others as being a certain way, and how such representations might produce harm. I draw special attention to particularly controversial technologies such as Sophia the Robot and sexbots in order to address issues of accountability and dehumanization. I end with some, perhaps, encouraging notes about how the sort of responsible design practices outlined in my project might open the door for some compelling liberatory developments.

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Date Created
2021