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1. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 5
Gunnar Lund Across and Beyond: The Semantics of Transgender Identity
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This paper examines two senses of the term “transgender:” transgender as across the gender binary and transgender as beyond the gender binary. Explored are the difficulties this ambiguity poses to transpeople. In short, using the theories of Ferdinand de Saussure and Richard Rorty, this paper argues that the meaning of “transgender” must simultaneously embrace both senses of the term, rather than one or the other.
2. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 5
Kristianne C. Anor Science: A Greatest Integer Function: A Punctuated, Cumulative Approach to the Inquisitive Nature of Science
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Thomas Kuhn argues that scientific advancements sometimes involve paradigm shifts between incommunsurable theories, thoughts, and concepts. I argue that the phenomenon Kuhn is attempting to describe is better explained as akin to a greatest integer function of punctuated equilibrium. I conclude that Kuhn is mistaken in thinking that science is an actively vigorous, cumulative discipline.
3. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 5
Kyle Cavagnini Descriptions of Scientific Revolutions: Rorty’s Failure at Redescribing Scientific Progress
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The twentieth century saw extended development in the philosophy of science to incorporate contemporary expansions of scientific theory and investigation. Richard Rorty was a prominent and rather controversial thinker who maintained that all progress, from social change to scientific inquiry, was achieved through the redescription of existing vocabularies. However, this theory fails to describe revolutionary scientific progress. Thomas Kuhn’s theories of paradigm change, as first described in his seminal work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, better portray this process. I attempt to show this by applying Kuhn’s and Rorty’s views to examples of scientific progress and comparing the results.
4. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 5
Amanda Frankel Kept Down By the Man, Damn the Man: The Figurative and Literal Alienation of Women
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While Feminism and Marxism each promote revolution in the name of equality, Feminist struggle is dismissed by Marxism. As workers, women face the capitalist narrative, but women’s alienation is deeper than mere Marxist alienation. Women face the additional narrative of the patriarchy. This paper seeks to show that true Marxist revolution is impossible unless it is preceded by a Feminist revolution that breaks gender and sexual stigmas.
5. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 5
Garrett Allen Understanding Thomas Reid
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Thomas Reid offers a powerful challenge to Hume and his skeptical system. In “Thomas Reid on Epistemic Principles,” William Alston gives an explanation of that challenge and concludes in favor of a Reidian-inspired thesis. I argue, however, that Alston’s thesis is a diluted version of Reid’s radical position, one that Reid’s principles cannot accommodate. Thus, I conclude that, because Alston’s position is not available, we are left with Reid’s radical thesis, with which we are rightly uncomfortable.
6. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 5
Phillip Curtsmith The Principle of Implicit Ignorance
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The following is a foundationalist exercise based upon a single observation or postulate distinguishing one’s knowledge of information versus one’s knowledge of one’s former unknowing of that information. This postulate is titled the “principle of implicit ignorance.” Utilizing this postulate, several theorems are constructed including the equivalence to Hume’s thesis regarding the absence of knowledge of a necessary connection. The postulate is then negated, demonstrating equivalence to Kant’s thesis regarding the presence of synthetic a priori statements. The final result is a single general epistemic postulate that brokers between the two respective positions. Because both systems are the result of this general principle, rejecting the results of one system necessarily forces one into the contrary position.
7. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 5
Vincent Charles Sawaya The Truth of the Matter: A Defense of Critical Thinking as the Principle Aim of Education
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With the rise of state sponsored standardized testing and curriculum alignment, it is important to consider the impact such practices may have on educational aims. In this paper, I argue that critical thinking ought to be the principle aim in every educational pursuit, and that practices such as “teaching to the test” may be detrimental to its development. I maintain these claims with a discussion of the philosophical works of Harvey Siegel, Israel Scheffler, and John Dewey. Operating from their definitions of critical thinking, rationality, and education respectively, I offer support for my conclusion based on one’s ability to challenge the soundness of claims, and the revisional quality of true belief. The issue of critical thinking as general or subject specific is also addressed. Using Siegel’s notion of a critical spirit, I propose that a universal quality of critical thinking lies in its normative as opposed to technical aspects.
8. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 5
Hannah Laurens Finite in Infinity: Spinoza’s Conception of Human Freedom Explained Through His Metaphysics
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One of the main themes in Spinoza’s Ethics is the issue of human freedom: What does it consist in and how may it be attained? Spinoza’s ethical views crucially depend on his metaphysical theory, and this close connection provides the answer to several central questions concerning Spinoza’s conception of human freedom. Firstly, how can we accommodate human freedom within Spinoza’s necessitarianism—in the context of which Spinoza rejects the notion of a free will? Secondly, how can humans, as merely finite beings, genuinely attain freedom? Can Spinoza defend his claim that we may even attain blessedness? I will argue that these questions are answered by appeal to a twofold in human nature. According to Spinoza, we are finite in infinity.
9. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 5
Debra Bellamy To Gay, or Not To Gay?
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This work examines the structure of discourses on homosexuality, taking the nature-versus-nurture question as a case study, in order to display the incoherency that results from taking such questions for granted. This paper critically explores the alleged neutrality and objectivity of discourses on sexuality, and within this exploration, a breakdown of the categories of sexuality, sex, gender, and nature occurs. What is shown is that the breakdown of these categories renders the nature-versus-nurture Question itselfquite questionable.
10. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 5
About the Authors
11. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 5
Peter Antich Elegy to Narcissus
12. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 6
Jenna Tomasello Sexual Harassment and Objectivity: Why We Need Not Ask Women If They Are Victims
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Sexual harassment is often understood as a subjective notion that asks the woman if she has been victimized. This paper argues that we need not ask women if they are victims by conceptualizing sexual harassment as an objective notion that holds the perpetrator accountable for his actions. In making my case, I will apply an objective conception of sexual harassment to the U.S. Supreme Court case Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson by drawing on the feminist view of sexual harassment given by Anita Superson and the role of equality and autonomy as motivated by Ronald Dworkin and James Griffin, respectively.
13. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 6
Chad Marxen Fatalism and Truth at a Time
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In this paper, I will examine an argument for fatalism. I will offer a formalized version of the argument and analyze one of the argument’s most controversial assumptions. Then, I will argue that one ought to reject the assumption that propositions about the future are true facts of the past, even if no one makes reference to such propositions.
14. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 6
Max Siegel Revising the Principle of Alternate Possibilities
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This paper examines the position in moral philosophy that Harry Frankfurt calls the Principle of Alternate Possibilities (PAP). The paper first describes the principle as articulated by A.J. Ayer. Subsequently, the paper examines Frankfurt’s critique and proposed revision of the principle and argues that Frankfurt’s proposal relies on an excessively simplistic account of practical reasoning, which fails to account for the possibility of moral dilemmas. In response, the paper offers a further revision of PAP, which accounts for Frankfurt’s critique, moral dilemmas, and the challenge of causal determinism.
15. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 6
Kyle Curran Change and Moral Development in Kant’s Ethics
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This paper is concerned with an ambiguous aspect of Kant’s ethics, namely, how moral change is possible. Kant conceives that change is possible, indeed desirable, without making clear the mechanism by which this change occurs. I conclude that one’s moral development must come about through the autonomous rationality of humanity. This allows for the moral law to be held at all times and for the rejection of immoral sentiments and inclinations. Further, it is constant soul-searching that allows one to keep a check on their maxims, facilitating the development of a moral disposition.
16. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 6
Jenny Carmichael Indiscernibles and Plato’s Forms vs. Parmenides
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In Parmenides, the young Socrates defends several candidate forms against Parmenides, who makes five objections: the objection of forms of common things, the question of the part vs. the whole, the third man argument, infinite regress, and the greatest difficulty problem. I define forms in terms of Leibniz’s Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (PII) in an attempt to overcome Parmenides’ opposition. I show that the main force in Parmenides’ objections consists of absurdities that emerge in relations between forms and particulars: absurdities that are avoided if the form and its instantiation in the particular are identical.
17. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 6
Mark McGinn Instrumentalism and Poetic Thinking: A Critique of Dewey’s Logic of Thought
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This paper offers a critique of the instrumental logic of thought found in the middle period of Dewey’s philosophy. His instrumentalism requires that thought serves to effect a physical alteration in the conditions of experience through an experimental act, the results of which retrospectively determine the legitimacy of thought. But missing from his account, I argue, is an explanation of the significant alteration of experience brought about by more aesthetic forms of philosophical thinking, which do not aim to effect any kind of physical alteration. I therefore propose that “poetic thinking” be invoked as a necessary supplement to instrumental thinking.
18. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 6
Kristen Wells Nietzsche’s Society
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This essay asserts that Nietzsche proposes an important role for society within his ethics, and that this societal aspect has been greatly overlooked by Nietzsche scholars. By identifying a soul-state analogy and resemblance to virtue ethics, this essay contends that Nietzsche intends for societies and individuals to be seen as complementary parts of the will to power. Like Aristotle, Nietzsche prescribes an ideal society essential to greatness. By recognizing the importance of the role of society in Nietzsche’s philosophy, Nietzsche scholarship is better positioned to consider new applications of his philosophical principles with his goals in mind.
19. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 6
Vesak Chi Climate Ethics: Individual vs. Collective Responsibility and the Problem of Corruption
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Anthropogenic climate change (ACC) has been described as a tragedy of the commons (T of C) by Baylor Johnson. Johnson argues that solutions to T of C scenarios reside in collective action rather than individual action, and that our moral obligation is to advocate for collective solutions to ACC. Marion Hourdequin argues that individual action can serve to promote collective action and in doing so it can also serve as an ethical obligation. I contend that individual action holds intrinsic value in lieu of its ability to counteract our susceptibility to the kind of moral corruption espoused by Stephen Gardiner.
20. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal: Volume > 6
Oda Storbråten Davanger Not So Innocent: An Akratic Reading of Leibnizian “Judgment”
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Leibniz seeks to establish the tenability of faith and reason in his moral philosophy through a tripod of thought, consisting of 1) fundamental human goodness; 2) human error in judgment; and 3) that God is just. A difficulty arises concerning how God can justly punish human beings if they always will what is Good. By considering akrasia, which occurs when error is committed despite its clear nonconformity with the Good, and examining the Leibnizian concept of “judgment,” Leibniz’s tripod can be upheld.