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41. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 8
Eric Badovinatz There Are No Genuine Disagreements about Funniness
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I argue that there are no genuine disagreements about whether something is funny. My argument rests largely on the premise that something is funny only if someone experiences it as funny. The bulk of this paper is spent supporting this premise, primarily through an analysis of the meaning of “funniness.” The rest of the paper is spent demonstrating how my conclusion follows from this premise.
42. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 8
Anson Tullis Duality Unresolved and Darwinian Dilemmas
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By using Sharon Street’s Darwinian Dilemma, Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Peter Singer attempt to show that Sidgwick’s duality of practical reason, whereby an agent has equal reason to act in their own interests or act impartially for the benefit of all, is not actually a duality; rather, reasons for action are solely impartial due to the unreliability of intuitions favoring self-interested behavior. I argue that Lazari-Radek and Singer fail to accomplish their goal. I argue that Singer has previously provided an account of impartiality that makes it just as unreliable on the same grounds as self-interested tendencies. Sidgwick’s duality remains unresolved.
43. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 8
Richard R. Eva Multilateral Retributivism: Justifying Change
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In this paper I argue for a theory of punishment I call Multilateral Retributivism. Typically retributive notions of justice are unilateral: focused on one person’s desert. I argue that our notions of desert are multilateral: multiple people are owed when a moral crime is committed. I argue that the purpose of punishment is communication with the end-goal of reconciling the offender to society. This leads me to conclude that the death penalty and life without parole are unjustified because they necessarily cut communication short.
44. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 8
Hannah Bahnmiller The Intersections between Self-Deception and Inconsistency: An Examination of Bad Faith and Cognitive Dissonance Hannah Bahnmiller
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The relationship between the concepts of bad faith, coined by Jean-Paul Sartre, and cognitive dissonance, developed by Leon Festinger, is often misunderstood. Frequently, the terms are over-generalized and equivocated as synonymous ideas. This paper attempts to clarify the intricacies of these two concepts, outlining their similarities and differences.
45. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 8
Charles Mills, Arthur Soto Rethinking Philosophy and Race: An Interview With Charles Mills
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The Stance team spoke with Charles Mills, noted philosopher and John Evans Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy at Northwestern University whose work focuses on issues of social class, gender, and race, on December 1, 2014. Dr. Mills reviewed Stance’s transcription of the interview and made slight corrections for grammar, style, and reduction of repetition. He also inserted a sentence or two to add clarity. We hope readers find the result illuminating.
46. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 8
Authors
47. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 9
Caroline Carr Does the Dao Support Individual Autonomy and Human Rights?
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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights lists what have come to be called “first” and “second” generation rights. First generation rights are civil and political; second generation rights are social, economic, and cultural. Western and Asian nations are in disagreement about whether each of these rights is universal. While Western nations strongly believe that first generation rights should be universal, many “Confucian” nations insist that second generation rights precede first generation rights. After analyzing the Confucian values in detail, I conclude that Confucianism supports both generations of rights.
48. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 9
Raquel Robles Just Visiting: A Working Concept of “Wilderness” for Environmental Ethics and Ordinary Language
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This paper argues for retaining the concept of “wilderness” as a significant ethical category and considers arguments by J. Baird Callicott and William Cronon for abandoning it. Counters by Paul M. Keeling and Scott Friskics are evaluated and defended. Lastly, the paper recommends thinking of the term “wilderness” as belonging to a certain range of meanings on a spectrum of naturalness.
49. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 9
Steven Dykstra Scientific Minimalism and the Division of Moral Labor in Regulating Dual-Use Research
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In this paper I examine the merits of a “division of moral labor” regulatory system for dual-use research. I borrow an argument from Thomas Douglas against scientific isolationism to show that researchers must be morally responsible for resolving at least some dual-use problems. I then argue that there are key benefits of scientific isolationism that are preserved in a position I call scientific minimalism. I then demonstrate that scientific minimalism, in a division of moral labor system, succeeds in maximizing both scientific freedom and moral efficiency, which I hold to be an essential aim for any proposed alternative regulatory model.
50. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 9
Charlie Melman If “Everyone Does It,” Then You Can Too
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I argue that the “But Everyone Does That” (BEDT) defense can have significant exculpatory force in a legal sense, but not a moral sense. I consider whether legal realism is a better theory of the law than the more orthodox view of respecting the law as it is written. I next examine what the purpose of the law is, especially attending to how widespread disobedience is treated. Finally, I attempt to fit BEDT within Paul Robinson’s framework for categorizing defenses. I conclude that, first, BEDT can have significant exculpatory force; second, a BEDT plea does not comport with either Robinson’s definition of an excuse or other commonly held conceptions and so needs its own classification; and finally, BEDT does not exonerate the offender in a moral sense—only in a legal context.
51. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 9
Richard Spradlin “Hood Politics”: Racial Transformation in Hip-Hop
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This paper explores the possibility of music to transform the way we understand each other. In particular, it looks at the genre of hip-hop and the ways in which it can serve as a vehicle for understanding black experience. I argue that hip-hop’s structural elements allow artists to convey their living narrative in a way that recognizes, challenges, and changes our conceptual understanding of the black body. Using the works of Darby English and Harry Nethery, I examine hip-hop and apply their arguments to two specific rappers in order to illustrate my argument.
52. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 9
C.J. Oswald Moral Vegetarianism and the Philosophy of Mind
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Most arguments for moral vegetarianism rely on the premise that non-human animals can suffer. In this paper I evaluate problems that arise from Peter Carruthers’ Higher-Order Thought theory of consciousness. I argue that, even if we assume that these problems cannot be overcome, it does not follow that we should not subscribe to moral vegetarianism. I conclude that we should act as if non-human animals have subjective experiences for moral reasons, even if we cannot be certain that they do.
53. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 9
Miguel D. Guerrero The Academic Animal is Just an Analogy: Against the Restrictive Account of Hegel’s “Spiritual Animal Kingdom”
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The “Spiritual Animal Kingdom” is an often-misunderstood section of G.F.W. Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Many scholars interpret the ‘Spiritual Animal Kingdom’ as being analogous to intellectual life. While the intellectual life analogy is useful, the restrictive account takes it to be the sole content of this section. In this essay, I argue that the restrictive account misidentifies what Hegel means by die Sache selbst (in English, “the matter in hand”). Such a mistake will affect the ability of consciousness to progress to absolute knowing, the ultimate project for Hegel’s Phenomenology.
54. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 9
Dane Shade Hannum Criminal Justice Without Moral Responsibility: Addressing Problems with Consequentialism
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This paper grants the hard determinist position that moral responsibility is not coherent with a deterministic world view and examines hard determinist alternatives to traditional punishment. I claim that hard determinist accounts necessarily involve consequentialist reasoning and discuss problems stemming from them. I also argue that a revised model of traditional consequentialism called complex consequentialism, a view in which multiple values may be considered as ends, provides the best moral framework for a hard determinist account. Ultimately, I examine a criminal justice model that draws heavily on public health ideals and argue that it should considered a complex consequentialist account.
55. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 9
Linda Martín Alcoff Feminism, Speaking for Others, and the Role of the Philosopher: An Interview with Linda Martín Alcoff
56. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 9
Nicole B. Doolen Purity Balls: Virtue Ethics, Sexuality, and Moral Development
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In this paper, I draw on the principles of Aristotelian ethics, the work of modern virtue ethicists, and previous feminist critiques of purity balls to interrogate the effects of this practice on moral development. I argue that purity balls discourage young women from making autonomous, informed, and virtuously motivated decisions regarding their sexuality. While most critiques of purity balls are rooted in the explicitly patriarchal structure of these events, my analysis emphasizes the negative impact they have on moral agency. I conclude that purity balls are unethical because of the detrimental effects they have on the becoming of virtuous agents.
57. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 9
Author Biographies
58. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 1
Joshua Savage Where Claxton Falls Short: The Illusions of Consumption Addiction
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Guy Claxton suggests that post-Industrial Revolution westerners are consumption addicts and argues that we must embrace a more frugal and environmentally considerate lifestyle. However, I argue that Claxton’s analysis and solution to consumption addiction does not penetrate far enough. Through Warren’s ecofeminist reasoning and Heidegger’s notion of technology, I show that the anthropocentric assumption inherent in western consumption engenders a destructive and oppressive worldview by creating the illusion that we are justified in subordinating non-human entities.
59. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 1
Chris Stevens A Critical Discussion of Sartre on Love
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Pessimism about the stability of intra-personal relationships runs deeply in the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre. I begin by examining how this pessimism arises from Sartre’s ontology, particularly considering the attitude of love towards the Other. I then suggest that there may be space within Sartre’s philosophy for a defense of love as a positive relation to the Other which need not be destined to cycle into attitudes toward the Other such as hate or masochism.
60. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 1
John Woodlee Descriptions of God: A Critique of Anselm’s Ontological Argument
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This paper uses the lessons gathered from a brief consideration of the workings of substantive descriptive phrases to develop two objections to Anselm’s ontological proof of God’s existence. First, one’s understanding of the definition of God does not, as Anselm claims, guarantee that God exists in one’s understanding. Second, the proof depends on a flawed interpretation of the denial of God’s existence. The paper concludes by discussing the broader significance of this second objection.