Browsing by Author "Yurdin, Joel"
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- ItemBack to Sanity: Overcoming an Unknowable Reductionism in the Philosophy of Mind(2009) Kovacs, Hannah; Macbeth, Danielle; Yurdin, JoelReductive philosophers of mind tell us that scientific explanations can account for meaning with brain function and human action in terms of cause/effect outputs. Before accepting this, we should consider whether there is something lacking in these mechanistic descriptions. I will argue that there is something essential missing from an atomized depiction of experience, and I will show that there are powerful resources to create a picture that preserves it. I will contend that it is impossible for reductive accounts of self-consciousness to achieve a rich picture of human experience, and I will attempt to offer an alternative view
- ItemBeauty as it speaks to life: Study in how Platonic Form of Beauty relates to our interaction with beautiful objects(2010) Yun, Emma; Yurdin, Joel; Macbeth, DanielleBeauty‘s relation to art and the good life is mostly obscure, though the topic has been much debated in the course of Western Philosophy. In this essay, I hope to revive the relationship between beauty and goodness, as understood in Platonic times. My main argument centers on Plato‘s understanding of beauty, which claims that a beautiful object is a particular body manifesting the Form of Beauty. To understand the nature of beauty, separation between the Form and the body is needed. I explain how this separation is possible when one makes the progression from appreciating the beauty of the body to creating artworks, to contemplating the nature of beauty in a philosophical discourse. For Plato, goodness is a life spent in philosophical discourse. In my paper, I take goodness to mean a life devoted to understanding the nature of our existence. Only by understanding the nature our existence, we can develop empathy and tolerance. These attributes are necessary in order for us to lead a flourishing life, since our existence is not individuated. Because the Form is intricately woven into the particular body that is connected to life, one who appreciates the Form is drawn to exploring more of the body that leads to exploring more about life itself. Therefore, I argue that understanding the nature of beauty ultimately leads us to the world of the particulars where the good and the bad, happiness and sorrow, are interconnected. It is this dichotomy that has led scholars to resist the claim that beauty ultimately converges with goodness. I conclude that understanding the nature of our existence does converge with goodness, even when existence itself is not purely good.
- ItemCivic Participation, Ideal Education, and Well-being(2011) Jiang, LinKai; Yurdin, Joel; Wright, Kathleen, 1944-If one is struggling between a decision to party or to organize for social change, this thesis hopes to provide resources for reconciling this tension between personal desires and political duties. I argue that civic participation is an essential part of living a good life. Living well entails more than material satisfaction, it requires active engagement in the affairs of the state. In the process of deliberating the affairs of the state one establishes concrete and genuine relationship with valuable people/objects/events. Such a relationship is an actual manifestation of one's well-being, beyond the lofty psychological state of happiness. I arrive at my conclusion by considering the essential purposes of the state and thus its responsibilities. I structure my thesis according to the following four sub-questions: 1. what sort of responsibilities does a state have toward its citizens? 2. what sort of responsibilities do citizens have toward their state? 3. what constitutes human well-being? 4. what sort of mutual responsibilities will lead to the individual and the collective well-being? I will look at Plato’s 'Republic, and Aristotle’s 'Nicomachean Ethics' and 'The Politics' to locate the responsibilities of ideal citizens and an ideal state. I will look at Mill’s 'Utilitarianism' and James Griffin’s 'Well Being' to locate essential elements of well-being.
- ItemConsideration for the Predetermined Urban Outlaw: An Analysis of the Racialized Other within Just Punishment Aims in the United States(2011) Contreras, Stephanie; Delpech-Ramey, Joshua; Yurdin, JoelIn this paper, I will rehearse H.L.A Hart’s standard definition of punishment to reintroduce the elements that constitute state punishment, and Michael Davies’s methodology for discussing just punishment.
- ItemCrossing the Divide Between Aristotle's Phronesis and Techne to Discover a More Inclusive Way of Living Well(2015) Chai, Rodney Ming-Fui; Yurdin, JoelIn my paper, I argue that the Chinese Taoist philosopher, Zhuang Zi (369-286 BC) can help us see that Aristotle's distinction between two of his intellectual virtues - phronesis (practical wisdom) and techne (craftsmanship) - is not that clear after all. I will first introduce Aristotle's intellectual virtues in his Nicomachean Ethics. In particular, I will distinguish between techne and phronesis. Next, I will show how the two are related, especially how someone who has mastered a particular technical know-how can help him/her gain practical wisdom in living his/her life. Following which, I will bring in Zhuang Zi's parable of Butcher Ting cutting the ox to show how one can cultivate his/her character and state of psychology and therefore live an excellent life by being immersed and excelling in his/her techne. I will then address possible objections from Aristotle, primarily that it is possible for one to excel in his/her techne but nonetheless lack the wisdom to live well in the daily context. Following my counter-response with Zhuang Zi's distinction between 'small' and 'big' understanding, I will then argue that it is sufficient rather than necessary to possess techne in order to live well. Finally, I will conclude by saying that blurring the divide between techne and phronesis provides an alternative route for people to acquire the knowledge of living well despite a lack of education or literacy.
- ItemGhostless Cartesianism: Reintegrating the Fractured Self-Consciousness in Action(2009) Kopilow, Emily; Macbeth, Danielle; Yurdin, JoelIn a series of exchanges Hubert Dreyfus and John McDowell take turns accusing each other of succumbing to dualistic theories of action founded in the subtle draws of a Cartesian dualism. The question of the meaning of mindedness, and the extent to which our conceptual capacities extend and are actualized, is the essential question framing what Hubert Dreyfus terms "the battle of the myths" between John McDowell and himself. The paper begins with Dreyfus's phenomenological claim that immersed bodily coping is nonconceptual, nonlinguistic, nonrational, and unminded. The second section supplements McDowell's reply in the exchange, primarily using Mind and World and a series of unpublished lectures. Through McDowell we come to see not only how intentional action cannot be unrational or nonconceptual, he shows us a way to understand how it can be rational and conceptual. The third section introduces what I term 'intellectual activity' as a form of immersed coping that further make Dreyfus's concerns seem unfounded.
- ItemHaving a Taste for What’s There(2011) Keough, Sydney; Yurdin, Joel; Macbeth, DanielleA great deal of philosophical anxiety has fixated on the notorious fact that the world does not always match our experience of it. Conversely, little attention has been paid to the equally interesting and similarly difficult phenomenon of expert perception—the ability to train one’s perceptual sensitivity. In this essay, I analyze the perceptual expertise of tea-tasters and argue that their privileged gustatory standing reveals episodes of perception to be the potentially skilled exercises of a power to take in how things are with the sensible world. This view of expert perception poses an explanatory challenge for both internalist and externalist pictures of mentality—the two of which grow up out of a concern with preserving our perceptual access to the world while simultaneously accounting for the fallibility of this access. This gestures at the possibility that a satisfying account of expert perception requires explanatory work to be done by both the ‘internal’ development of our perceptual mental states and by the world figuring as a constituent of those states. I contend that, should naïve realism adopt the notion that perceptual experience is conceptually articulated, it will be furnished with the resources necessary to answer expert perception’s challenge to externalism.
- ItemLeaps in Perception: Towards a Philosophy of Imaginatively-endowed Perceiving(2023) Rousseau, Jade; Yurdin, JoelInquiry into our perception soon leads us to a kind of skepticism, whereby we not only doubt that our senses give us access to the objective world, we doubt they give us access to anything at all. This is the problem of perception. At the heart of this problem lies a distance between us and the world. Introducing the concept of perceptive faith, I argue that our fundamental attitude towards the world is thus one of leaping. Using the lens of the leap, I first consider the way perception unfolds within us. I emphasize the importance of theorizing perception as a lived perceiving, and suggest that imagination may be necessary for our perceiving, as that which allows us to bridge the gaps and give life to them. I then consider two analytic theories of perception, drawing out their phenomenological sensibility, and suggest that if intentionalism begins to tie the world to us, enactivism embeds us firmly in the world. The distance between the world and us thus seems to be bridged when we realize perception is an embodied and imaginatively-endowed perceiving. I contend that such premises were ignored because of a pervasive optocentrism in Western philosophy, an overvaluation of sight and a devaluation of the other senses (especially of touch) which led certain problems, questions, and conclusions to appear at the expense of others. I conclude that a philosophy of perception that emphasized the imaginary texture of the world would allow us to unproblematically encompass both our being towards and away from the world.
- ItemLiberalism and the Conflict of Restraint(2020) Staruski, Joseph; Yurdin, JoelJohn Rawls' A Theory of Justice is an extremely important work of contemporary liberalism that sets up the theoretical framework for a defense of liberal social contract deontology. Michael Sandel, a communitarian, tries to criticize Rawls on the grounds that his liberal political theory will produce alienated and dislocated individuals without clear or thickly-constituted identities. Rawls replies to the communitarian critique by differentiating between the institutional (public) and non-institutional (moral) identities, but fails to address the ethical/metaphysical considerations that are needed to fully account for the communitarian critique. Rawls tries to place ‘communitarian values' within the non-institutional sphere, but since the institutional and non-institutional collapse into the same person who is at once citizen and moral individual, he creates what I call the ‘conflict of restraint.' I will explore how existentialism and Simone de Beauvoir's ethics of freedom help to advance the liberal argument against Sandel's criticisms while also affirming the criticism or Rawls' presumed impartiality. Beauvoir's perspective is analogous to A Theory of Justice in some ways. Beauvoir and Rawls share a similar conception of self and a similar dualism between universal and particular. If seen as a Rawlsian moral identity, Beauvoir's existentialist ethics helps to solve the conflict of restraint by bringing into line otherwise conflicting interests. The existentialist perspective at once shows the potential to bring forward a new way of thinking about justice and addresses the communitarian critique by providing an ethical/metaphysical paradigm to ground liberal claims of goodness.
- ItemLiving, Destroying, Creating: The Overcoming of Ressentiment in Nietzsche and Socrates(2011) Chesterton, Eric; Yurdin, Joel; Wright, Kathleen, 1944-
- ItemPerceptible Value: Toward a Weak Realist Account of Moral Properties(2016) Jensen, Luke; Yurdin, JoelRealists and anti-realists about value acknowledge that we have and talk about evaluative experiences, but the status of our experiences and talk is contentious. What is up for debate is whether such experiences are necessarily illusory (anti-realism) or are, at least sometimes, perceptual (realism). This paper aims to extend McDowell’s work on value into an account of moral properties according to which moral properties are real, perceptible as such, internally related to the will, and for us. I articulate the context in which this account is built by mapping the dialectics among four broad positions in meta-ethics along two general dimensions: 1) how each position construes moral concepts, and 2) how each construes moral properties. I utilize Dancy’s distinction between intrinsically motivating states and necessarily motivating states to develop an account of moral error, weakness of will, and how actions come to bear moral properties that blurs two separate but interrelated oppositions between fact and value, and between reasons and motivations. In so doing I reject a Cartesian view of the relation between Mind and World and the classical Humean theory of action. This requires problematizing McDowell’s dispositional account of value, and thereby his account for the perceptibility of value based on a primary/secondary quality model, which, I argue already concedes too much to the Humean-Cartesian anti-realists. Finally, I argue, contra Dancy, that from these considerations it follows that a perceptual model is useful for ethics for two reasons: 1) the objects of perception provide the model for the reality of moral properties, and 2) as the most familiar non-inferential mode of access to the world, it is by analogy to perception that we understand our other non-inferential modes of access to the moral features of particular situations.
- ItemRECOVERING THE ROLE OF EXPLANATORY KNOWLEDGE IN EXPERTISE(2018) Hagan, Mitchell; Yurdin, JoelWhile it is a view that philosophy has largely ignored since Gilbert Ryle's work in the 20th century, we ought to recognize that explanatory knowledge serves a valuable role in expert behavior. With developments that arise in the 20th century, we experience a radical shift in understanding expertise that would have us believe explanatory knowledge, and propositional knowledge generally, simply does not play a role in skilled performance. According to the contemporary literature, while having explanatory knowledge may be relevant to the novice person who is acquiring a skill, having such knowledge in no way manifests in behavior that we generally distinguish as being expert. Only until very recently, many philosophers have come to agree that explanatory knowledge is merely inoperative as it relates to skilled performance, and while considering such knowledge may be useful to a beginner who is learning a new skill, such knowledge is in no way operative once the person has become well-acquainted with the skill. However, simply because philosophers have concentrated on examples involving expertise in which explanatory knowledge does not occupy a central role, we ought to deny the premature conclusion being made that would have us believe explanatory knowledge is always a mere aside to a person's displaying expertise. Ultimately, in analyzing cases involving expertise where explanatory knowledge makes an essential contribution to a person’s displaying expert behavior, we ought to see why exactly the Rylean account of skilled behavior is inadequate, and in what ways explanatory knowledge is in fact valuable and is made manifest in a person’s displaying expertise.
- ItemSeeking Gender Justice in the Home(2011) Morais, Cristina C.; Koggel, Christine M., 1955-; Yurdin, JoelChallenging gender injustice is not an easy task especially when it comes to the injustices that are present in the family. Part of the difficulty is that moral and political theory has tended to take what happens in the home as irrelevant to justice. In referencing various feminist philosophers I will critically assess the nature of the injustices that take place in the family and focus on these injustices as they are present in Western liberal societies. In the process of determining how women can be elevated from their positions of inequality in the family, I will critically examine the benefits of using an ethic of care or an ethic of justice to address these issues of inequality. To begin my analysis I make use of John Rawls’ theory of justice and examine how, if at all, his theory can be applied to the family structure. My thesis proceeds by examining Susan Okin’s critique of Rawls and her account of how justice should be incorporated into the family. I then outline various accounts introduced by feminist philosophers such as Sarah Ruddick and Joan Tronto who favor using either an ethic of justice or an ethic of care for challenging gender injustice in the home. My thesis offers a critique of these theories and it concludes by arguing that an ethic of care is best suited for addressing issues of gender injustice in the home.
- ItemShakespeare Contra Nietzsche or How to Playwrite with a Hammer(2010) Lanham, Andrew; Yurdin, Joel; Zwarg, Christina, 1949-I argue, two of the primary frameworks by which the academy currently conceives of the human subject fundamentally intertwine, as the Nietzschean thought which has dominated postmodernity conceives of itself on the most basic level as arising from and being like the tragic Shakespearean conception of humanity Bloom describes as paradigmatic for all post-Shakespeareans. Contemporary philosophy and criticism, I believe, may therefore be said to stem from the intersection of Shakespeare and Nietzsche. And so, if we wish to know our own intellectual origins in the crux of Nietzsche and Shakespeare, we would do well to heed Nietzsche’s own figuration of their relationship.
- ItemTalk About a New Breed of Our Species: The Genetically Engineered Human(2010) Giwa, Nadine Karen; Macbeth, Danielle; Yurdin, JoelGenetic engineering has proven to be quite a hot topic that is, and continues to be, very controversial. Now that the idea of human genetic engineering has surfaced, people have become even more excited and/or anxious over how it will effect our species in the future. At the core of the debate is how the autonomy, dignity and integrity inherent to all individuals will change - whether for better or worse. Two ideas that I want to discuss is (1) the idea of being oneself and (2) the idea of instrumentalizing human nature. In being oneself, will a person still be able to have the capacity to live his/her life according to his/her own authorship, or will genetic manipulation prevent a person from being able to grow and become an individual. In instrumentalization, will genetic enhancement truly interfere with a person's autonomy because the designer is seeing him/her as a creature of his/her preference, or is it possible that genetic intervention, because we are uncertain and cannot predict the future, will not be definitively able to harm an individual. I do not plan to be an authority on this subject because different people have different views on what is integrity and autonomy. All I wish to do is open up a space for discourse and more understanding on the topic, and ask that people be more conscious of the thoughts and worries of not just the people who agree with them in their position but the people who are in the opposite stance on the topic.
- ItemThe Agent in the Deed: Towards an Expressivist Theory of Action(2015) Jaramillo, Sara; Yurdin, JoelMy aim in this paper will be to examine the relation between an agent’s intentions and her actions. I will look at two different ways of approaching the relation: the causal framework and the expressivist framework, and I will attempt to put forth my own critiques of each. The causal theorists I refer to in my paper approach the question from an analytic standpoint, discussing the mechanisms of the act and attempting to understand human action by breaking it down into its simplest and most basic form. I will claim that in doing so, they lose sight of the big picture and the importance of understanding action phenomenologically. The expressivist theorists oppose the causalists from the beginning by assuming an essential difference between human action and mere events, thus seeking to characterize that difference rather than explain it. Expressivists provide what I consider to be a more phenomenologically accurate view of action, producing the beginnings of an artful perspective on human action. I will attempt to defend and enrich the expressivist understanding of human action, while also illuminating the places where the theory still needs to be filled out.
- ItemThe Care of the Self in Foucault and Socrates: Rescuing the Socratic Relation to Truth to Promote New Modes of Being(2010) Marsico, Richard; Yurdin, Joel; Miller, Jerry
- ItemThe Nature and Value of Privacy(2014) Taylor, Jordan; Yurdin, Joel; Macbeth, DanielleMuch like communication or logical thought, privacy has always been fundamental to human experience. The rise and rapid expansion of communication technology has brought the issue of privacy as a right and value to heightened levels of debate. In order to understand privacy's value, we must first determine what privacy is and what function it serves in human life. Having derived a definition of privacy as the reasonable expectation that one is in control of his or her personal information, this project establishes the role and importance of privacy for various social relations. I shall argue that reticence is a key element in the function of privacy; attention to this element makes apparent the nature and value of privacy.
- ItemThe Primacy of Rights: The Relationship Between Citizens and States and A Discussion of the Existence of Natural Right(2013) Maldonado, Jake; Yurdin, Joel; Miller, JerryThis paper attempts to draw upon the work of four key authors in the debate about the origins and justifications of individual freedom using the ongoing Syrian Revolution as in the flesh evidence for the necessity of making determinations in this field. The conflict itself leads one to wonder what the ideal relationship is between citizens and states, and how the people in societies where individual liberties are not part of the current or historical political structure should think of the rights that others take for granted. Is it philosophically sound to say that all individuals deserve a certain set of rights, and if so, what are these rights? While it is unwise to say that philosophical considerations necessitate the reproduction of a specific political structure, it is viable to say that a set of human qualities deserves to be respected and provided the opportunity to flourish. Regimes, I contend, that attempt to suppress free speech and obscure truths from the public eye do not respect the human qualities that all governments must respect.
- ItemThe Problem of Philosophy(2011) Koch, Elliott; Stauffer, Jill, 1966-; Yurdin, JoelThis thesis explores the integral role of aporia in Platonic philosophy by exploring its epistemological, philosophical, and ethical contexts. Aporia is the disruption of pre-philosophical opinion – some call it intuition – by pointing out its inherent inconsistency and partial constitution in falsity itself. Opinions, however, also always have something of truth in them, thus they can be called intuitions at all and can allow for the aporetically stirred soul to approach truth at all. This disruption, moreover, occurs philosophically in a realm of value, as it is always due to the need to determine what is good over what is bad that causes one to get mixed up in the first place. Because of this, philosophy is always concerned with coming to know what is good and, because the philosopher is never satisfied by opinions that are inevitably false, this good eventually becomes an ethical problem of ‘goodness’ against ‘badness’ in general. Philosophy is a maddening pursuit after knowledge of truth and goodness, because as soon as one grasps what one is after it becomes immediately apparent that they have again grasped mere opinion. To this extent the acquisition of knowledge comes not in the accumulation of true propositions – opinions – but rather in the honing of one’s skill in understanding them. Aporia non-intuitively begins and ends philosophy by generating the creative pursuit of truth.