OAI Archive: Vanderbilt Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Archive
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100 entries most recently downloaded from the archive "Vanderbilt Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Archive"
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- Kenneth Mark Faber, The Totality, the Individual, and Their Relation: A Study of the Nature of Reality and the Significance of Life.Life is challenging. Philosophy is, among other things, a response to the challenges of life. Among the methods of philosophy is rational reflection on the nature of reality and the significance of life. This conceptual aspect of philosophy is very powerful, but it has its limitations. If correctly interpreted, it can be a great indicator of the way; if wrongly appreciated, it can be an obstacle to understanding. Concepts can reveal but they can also conceal. In particular, concepts can generate (...)No categories
- Elizabeth F. Edenberg, Political Liberalism and Its Feminist Potential.Rawlsian political liberalism is often rejected by feminist philosophers on the grounds that it reinstates a problematic public/private divide and includes sexist comprehensive doctrines as reasonable. My dissertation reclaims a revised version of Rawlsian political liberalism for feminist objectives. Using children who are raised in accordance with sexist comprehensive doctrines as a test case, I investigate the permissible limitations for reasonable pluralism. In the first half of my dissertation, I investigate challenges posed to Rawlsian stability and civic education. I argue (...)
- Andrea J. Pitts, Racial Interpellation and Second-Personhood: Understanding the Normative Dynamics of Race Talk.In this project, I combine theoretical resources from metaethics and philosophy of language with contemporary issues in critical philosophy of race. Drawing from these literatures, I examine the nature of racial norms by developing a non-ideal, situated, and intersectional approach to second-personhood. Second-personhood, as I propose in the first half of the dissertation, serves two explanatory functions with respect to the nature of racial norms. First, second-personhood highlights how manifestations of moral and political agency are embedded in interdependent forms of (...)No categories
- Christopher Michael Wells, Subjects Between Ethics and Politics.This dissertation examines the relationship between the concepts of ethics and politics in political theory. It does so by asking how conceptions of subjectivity result in formulations of ethics and politics and what this means for how ethics and politics relate to one another. It identifies two major trends in political theory: The prioritization of ethics over politics, and the prioritization of politics over ethics. It identifies Kant and Rawls as exhibiting the former trend and Marx and Arendt as exhibiting (...)No categories
- Emily Catherine McGill-Rutherford, Feminism, Liberalism, and Relational Autonomy.In this dissertation, I respond to the feminist critique of traditional theories of autonomy, which revolves around the charge that such theories are too individualistic. Feminists argue against the liberal atomism that they see at the center of traditional autonomy theories. Their resulting theory of relational autonomy is meant to remedy that traditional theories of autonomy posit an individualistic conception of both the self and autonomy. Instead, feminists have argued for a theory of autonomy that takes account of the ways (...)
- Andrew T. Forcehimes, Putting Reasons First: A Defense of Normative Non-Naturalism.Against non-analytic naturalism and quietist realism, I defend a robust form of non-naturalism. The argument proceeds as follows: In the face of extensional underdetermination, quietist realism cannot non-question-beggingly respond to alternative accounts that offer formally identical but substantively different interpretations of what reasons are. They face what we might call the reasons appropriation problem. In light of this problem, quietists ought to abandon their view in favor of robust realism. By permitting substantive metaphysical claims we can then argue, based on (...)
- Norman Lee Whitman, Spinoza's Materialist "Epistemology".Scholars have begun to explore Baruch Spinozas critique of rationalism, largely because of his importance for later thinkers deeply concerned about the nature of body, including Nietzsche, Freud, Marx, Frankfurt school critical theorists, and feminists. Until now, however, Spinozas epistemological writings have not been properly addressed in this revival of interest in his materialism. My dissertation reconstructs Spinozas materialist method of knowing in an effort to reclaim it from Cartesian and idealist readings, offering instead a materialist reading of Spinozas epistemological (...)
- Juliana Wolf Lewis, Real Fit: Identity, Society, and Viewer Investment in Fitness Reality TV.Real Fit: Identity, Society, and Viewer Investment in Reality TV is first and foremost a philosophical experiment in how to articulate the space between viewer and screen. Its driven by a methodological investment in bringing theories of normativity into an experiential terrain typically dominated by media studies. What does it mean to study an audience? And how does this knowledge speak to, or challenge our existing models? Its an investigation into the political dimension of seemingly innocuous entertainment, and a deep (...)
- Adam Benjamin Burgos, Political Resistance and the Constitution of Equality.In this dissertation I explore the conceptual relationship between equality and resistance in political philosophy. Through examination of the work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, John Dewey, and Jacques Rancière, I formulate a position called Fractured Social Holism. This is a problematic that attempts to articulate core issues at stake in the debates surrounding the purposes, meanings, and possibilities for politics. Through Fractured Social Holism I articulate a theory of equality that emphasizes the communities upon which societys institutions intend to (...)No categories
- Johanna Martha Matocha, The Living System: Life, Ideation and Freedom in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit.This dissertation engages the question of the relation between nature and rationality, and the conditions of our freedom, through the lens of the concept of Life. It begins by analyzing biological life in Kants Critique of Judgment as a form of judgment bridging theoretical and practical reason. Kants argument is limited, however, because it returns us to ourselves with new insight only about our judgment, but not about natural life. Hegel, by contrast, begins his treatment of self-consciousness in the Phenomenology (...)No categories
- Patrick Joseph Ahern, Echoing Demystified Aspirations: Human Flourishing and the Dialectic of Happiness.PHILOSOPHY Echoing Demystified Aspirations: Human Flourishing and the Dialectic of Happiness Patrick Joseph Ahern Dissertation under the direction of Idit Dobbs-Weinstein The question of the possibility or even the concern for human happiness has proven to be a point of contention for political thinkers confronting the ideological injunction to be happy in the face of material conditions that stifle the capacity for human flourishing. It can be argued that the appeal to human happiness as a political norm occludes as much (...)
- Lana Michelle Allen, An Arendtian Reading of Prison Resistance.Hannah Arendt theorizes that public spaces for thought and private spaces of reflection are constitutive components necessary for the production of a robust political world of thinkers, story-tellers and meaning-makers. Arendts conception of the transformative potential of public and private spaces can be particularly illuminating when applied to the context of the modern American prison, where prisoners are often subjected to both severe forms of social deprivation on the one hand, and lack of privacy on the other. That prison spaces (...)No categories
- Garrett Zantow Bredeson, The Genesis of Heidegger's Reading of Kant.Since its 1929 publication, philosophers have been more or less unsure what to make of Heideggers Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics. Although it wielded more than its fair share of influence over the course of the twentieth century, its chief interpretive claims are mostly untenable today. Of course, it has always been recognized that the book was never intended as a straightforward piece of Kant interpretation. But neither does it appear to be a reliable presentation of Heideggers own thought. (...)
- Paul Christopher Morrow, Social Norms in the Theory of Mass Atrocity and Transitional Justice.Recent philosophical research on normativity has clarified the nature and dynamics of social norms. Social norms are distinguished from legal and moral norms on the basis of their scope, their grounds, their characteristic forms of accountability, or some combination of these features. Because of their distinct character, social norms can reinforce practical prescriptions, prohibitions, and permissions provided to particular actors by legal or moral norms. They also can conflict drastically with those prescriptions, prohibitions, and permissions resulting in serious practical dilemmas. (...)
- Blake Allen Green, Working Toward a Legal, Scientific, and Philosophical Conception of Mental Capacity.As the cognitive sciences reveal more and more to us about the ways in which ours brains function, legal scholars, philosophers, and bioethicists are but a few of the academics that will have accommodate this increasing knowledge into theory and practice. Herein, I argue that several problematic areas in the United States legal system might be ameliorated in coming years by augmenting our conception of mental capacity. While the term is broad and carries many possible applications, I focus on two (...)
- Rebecca Dayna Tuvel, Epistemic Injustice Expanded: A Feminist, Animal Studies Approach.In this dissertation, I argue that an account of epistemic injustice sensitive to interlocking oppressions must take us beyond injustice to human knowers. Although several feminist epistemologists argue for the incorporation of all forms of oppression into their analyses, feminist epistemology remains for the most part an anthropocentric enterprise. Yet insofar as a reduction to animal irrationality has been central to the epistemic injustice of both humans and animals, I propose that in addition to axes of gender, race, class and (...)
- Nathanael William Vaprin, Immanuel Kant and the Theory of Radical Democracy.This dissertation is intended as an intervention in the interminable and apparently antinomical philosophical exchange between political theories of radical democracy descended from Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe and liberal democracy descended from John Rawls. Radical democrats have deployed the friend-enemy distinction of Carl Schmitt to criticize liberal democracy as hypocritical and ultimately undemocratic in its refusal to critique its own ground; liberal democrats have riposted by characterizing radical democracy as dangerously anarchic. In this project, I read Immanuel Kant in (...)
- Yusuf Oz, Politics of Grammar: A Comparison of Wittgenstein and Foucault.In this dissertation, I establish that Ludwig Wittgensteins and Michel Foucaults thoughts share a common philosophical ethos of freedom which shapes the political dimensions of their works. As opposed to accusations on and interpretations of their works as suggesting and prescribing a conservative line of political thought, I argue that being shaped by the normative demands of the ethos of freedom, their thoughts resist such conservative understandings and press us to read and judge them in the medium of radical transformative (...)