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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  1. Naturalism and Inference: On the Need for a Theory of Material Inference.Dabay Thomas - 2016 - Dissertation, Vanderbilt University
    My research centers on analytic pragmatist approaches to intentionality. One goal that defenders of such approaches set for themselves is to be able to provide a naturalistically sound account of intentionality without being pejoratively scientistic. Many critics argue that this is an unattainable goal, and I begin my dissertation by framing in neutral terms what I take to be the core of these criticsâ objection. I call this the Pincer Objection, and while surveying the works of four prominent analytic pragmatistsâDonald (...)
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  2. Taxation of Wealth Transfers: A Philosophical Analysis.Jennifer Erin Bird-Pollan - unknown
    Tax policy discussions are dominated by economic theories, and do not often involve philosophical analysis. Because tax is applied distributive justice, it makes sense to bring the insights of philosophy to bear on the work of creating and implementing tax laws. As one model of how philosophy can inform discussions of tax policy, this dissertation looks in particular at the taxation of wealth transfers from three different philosophical perspectives. Because wealth transfer taxes, more than most income or consumption taxes, are (...)
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  3. Deweyan Democracy and Reconciliation in Canada.Mary Stewart Butterfield - unknown
    This dissertation examines the injustices perpetrated against Indigenous people in Canada within the explicit framework of democratic theory. I examine the ability of Deweyan democracy as a purported problem-solving mechanism to deal with this problem of widespread social injustice. Deweyan democracy is distinctively epistemic, and depends upon diversity and inclusion in order to function effectively as a social and political mechanism for problem-solving. I argue that the inclusion within Deweyan democracy is insufficiently theorized to provide justice-based solutions to social problems, (...)
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  4. A Defense of Kidney Sales.Luke Bascome Semrau - unknown
    Drawing on empirical evidence in medicine, economics, law, and anthropology, I argue that a market is uniquely capable of meeting the demand for transplantable kidneys, and that it may be arranged so as to operate safely. The welfare gains, expected to accrue to both vendors and recipients, are sufficient to justify sales. Having spelled out the considerations recommending a kidney market, I address the most forceful objections facing the proposal. Despite its currency, the claim that incentives will crowd out altruistic (...)
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  5. Social Enactive Perception: Practices, Experience, and Contents.Manuel Alejandro Arango Vargas - unknown
    This dissertation proposes the central elements of a Social Enactive Theory of Perception. According to SEP, perception consists in sensory-based practices of interaction with objects, events, and states of affairs that are socially constituted. I oppose the representational view that perception is an indirect contact with the world, consists of the passive receiving and processing of sensory input, is in need of constant assessment of accuracy, and is a matter of individuals alone. I share the basic enactivist insight that perception (...)
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  6. The Totality, the Individual, and Their Relation: A Study of the Nature of Reality and the Significance of Life.Kenneth Mark Faber - unknown
    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 (...)
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  7. Political Liberalism and Its Feminist Potential.Elizabeth F. Edenberg - unknown
    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 (...)
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  8. Racial Interpellation and Second-Personhood: Understanding the Normative Dynamics of Race Talk.Andrea J. Pitts - unknown
    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 (...)
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  9. Subjects Between Ethics and Politics.Christopher Michael Wells - unknown
    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 (...)
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  10. Feminism, Liberalism, and Relational Autonomy.Emily Catherine McGill-Rutherford - unknown
    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 (...)
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  11. Putting Reasons First: A Defense of Normative Non-Naturalism.Andrew T. Forcehimes - unknown
    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 (...)
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  12. Spinoza's Materialist "Epistemology".Norman Lee Whitman - unknown
    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 (...)
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  13. Real Fit: Identity, Society, and Viewer Investment in Fitness Reality TV.Juliana Wolf Lewis - unknown
    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 (...)
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  14. Political Resistance and the Constitution of Equality.Adam Benjamin Burgos - unknown
    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 (...)
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  15. The Living System: Life, Ideation and Freedom in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit.Johanna Martha Matocha - unknown
    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 (...)
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  16. Echoing Demystified Aspirations: Human Flourishing and the Dialectic of Happiness.Patrick Joseph Ahern - unknown
    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 (...)
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  17. An Arendtian Reading of Prison Resistance.Lana Michelle Allen - unknown
    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 (...)
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  18. The Genesis of Heidegger's Reading of Kant.Garrett Zantow Bredeson - unknown
    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. (...)
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  19. Social Norms in the Theory of Mass Atrocity and Transitional Justice.Paul Christopher Morrow - unknown
    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. (...)
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  20. Working Toward a Legal, Scientific, and Philosophical Conception of Mental Capacity.Blake Allen Green - unknown
    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 (...)
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  21. Epistemic Injustice Expanded: A Feminist, Animal Studies Approach.Rebecca Dayna Tuvel - unknown
    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 (...)
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  22. Immanuel Kant and the Theory of Radical Democracy.Nathanael William Vaprin - unknown
    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 (...)
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  23. Politics of Grammar: A Comparison of Wittgenstein and Foucault.Yusuf Oz - unknown
    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 (...)
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