ABSTRACT

Keynote Speakers' Papers (To be updated)

Dr.  Magnus Englander: Empathy: Valuing the Primacy of the Other

The purpose of this paper is to explicate the possibility of an essential relation between the minimal requirements for selfhood and the intentionality of empathy, as a means of valuing the other. Within the constraints of phenomenological psychology, empathy can be seen as the directedness towards the other person's meaning-expression. As a professional (e.g., a nurse, a psychiatrist, or a psychologist), utilizing the phenomenological psychological approach, it is possible to perceive the psychological meanings expressed by the other. Such a stance discloses the possibility to attend to and value the experiential point of departure of the other's self. Empathy then, includes the value of the other's ownership of an experience

 

Dr. Graeme Gilloch: Adorno and the Culture Industry

Dr. Silvio Marino: From physis to polis: the Good between normativity and descriptivity. Plato and Aristotle on moral and political values.

Student'S Abstracts

Cesare Campisi

Objectivity, Relativity and Values


“Man is the measure of all things” (Protagoras). Moral pluralism suggests that people have differences in values or moral standards that spring from diverse cultural or societal backgrounds. And yet, some values, like respect for life, appear central to all humanity and raise the question of whether there are objective values.
In this paper I will discuss whether human experience shapes the creation of values or there exists an objective reality that is independent of human judgment, by examining the objectivity of values such as good, beauty, and truth. First and foremost, I will make reference to Plato’s ideas, especially in his works : Republic and  Phaedo where he consistently argues for the existence of a dual reality, one of which contains absolute, unchanging, universal truths; that which he calls Forms. In contrast, I will examine the opposite point of view using Protagoras and his work Truth to represent the Sophists and their relativist point of view.
The purpose of the paper is primarily to determine if values are truly objective or there is a possibility of a moral pluralism where not all values are of equal gravity, although they might all seem true, and humans must learn to discriminate them.

 

Brandon Abrams

Speculative vs. Critical: Wilhelm Dilthey on the Objectivity of History

Sir Winston Churchill once said “history will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.” Indeed, history is written from the point of view of the victors, which distorts the objectiveness of the events. Thus, can history ever be objective? Moreover, what is the most important part of history: the individual, the small group, or the sovereign state?

This paper will explore these concepts in the quest for a better understanding of past events. By utilizing from Wilhelm Dilthey Hermeneutics and the Study of History, this paper will give a background of how history is shaped from the points of view of different groups in society. Furthermore, it will explore historical revisionism and finally compare and contrast the concepts of “history from below” and the role of sovereignty in historical recollection.

The overall aim of this paper is to better understand the works of these two philosophers while also determining how history has been shaped and its impact on the future.

Nadia Fernanda Vargas Estrada

 

The Search for Identity
  What drives each person to look for its role in this world? Do we have one? Is it driven by us or by a higher force? If driven by a higher one, do we truly have free will? Is then, our identity truly ours? Known in different cultures as the “the awkward years” or “los años que adoleces” (a play on how apparently similar the word for “adolescent” is to the word “to pain” in Spanish), the search for our identity has been a concern for each person throughout history.
I will start by analyzing the concept of Socrates’ daimon mainly as presented in Plato’s Apology in its relationship with the idea of god. I will continue with an analysis of Plato’s role of identity and daimon in the sociopolitical system as he proposed it in his work The Republic, digging into the contrast between individual and community identity. Thus I will continue with Aristotle’s concept of telos as presented in his works, focusing principally in his Nicomachean Ethics and Physics. I will then return to the analysis of Socrates’ relationship with the daimon and God, in a teleological context. For the last section, I will make use of Michael Hoggs’ Social Identity Theory (2006) and "Uncertainty-Identity Theory". Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (2007) as tools to contextualize my previous observations in our era and will conclude with an analysis of a quote regarding free will and God by Pope Francis in his most recent interview A Big Heart Open to God (2013).
The purpose of this paper will be to analyze the components of identity, its relationship with God, its role as personal or communal within a society, both Platonic and contemporary.

 

Janki Patel

 

Fate vs Free Will

Is our life predetermined? Do we really control our destiny? How can God allow bad things to happen?  Is God truly good? How does our belief on free will impact our behavior?

In this paper, I will describe my own thoughts on how much free will we have and how much God controls of our destiny. I will answer the questions focusing on the elements from different sects of the Hindu religion. I will present a philosophical approach on human psychology using the text of the Bhagavad Gita from Hinduism. In another part of my paper, I will use the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas on human psychology to compare to the teachings of Hinduism. I will interpret Aquinas’ Summa Theologica to support my thoughts. Additionally I will compare the two older texts of works with a philosophical approach from a more contemporary piece, “Two Concepts of Liberty” by Isaiah Berlin. 

The overall aim of my paper is to understand that we think we have free will, but in actuality God controls our decisions. The only reason we think that our thoughts are ours is because we don’t have a tangible knowledge of anyone telling us what to think, but our soul gets this knowledge from God.
Fate vs Free Will

Is our life predetermined? Do we really control our destiny? How can God allow bad things to happen?  Is God truly good? How does our belief on free will impact our behavior?

In this paper, I will describe my own thoughts on how much free will we have and how much God controls of our destiny. I will answer the questions focusing on the elements from different sects of the Hindu religion. I will present a philosophical approach on human psychology using the text of the Bhagavad Gita from Hinduism. In another part of my paper, I will use the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas on human psychology to compare to the teachings of Hinduism. I will interpret Aquinas’ Summa Theologica to support my thoughts. Additionally I will compare the two older texts of works with a philosophical approach from a more contemporary piece, “Two Concepts of Liberty” by Isaiah Berlin. 

The overall aim of my paper is to understand that we think we have free will, but in actuality God controls our decisions. The only reason we think that our thoughts are ours is because we don’t have a tangible knowledge of anyone telling us what to think, but our soul gets this knowledge from God.
 

 

Ceaira Monét Walker

The Hindrance of Objective Societal Values on Internal Freedom

What is freedom? What are the originsof subjective values? Are thevalues of individuals deprived from society, self or both?How do humans determine what their own values are? How do humans determine what is moral? And most importantly, do the objective values of societyhinder internal freedom? The purpose of this essay is to attempt to answer these questions with references to Rationality and Freedom by Amartya Sen, The Life of The Mind by Hannah Arendt and the works of Plato.

Freedom, is a concept that has been denied by both man and self. Freedom subjectively holds various meanings, however, universally, freedom is the opportunity for a person to make unconstrained decisions. This freedom inevitably includes the ability for a person to decipher the meanings and simultaneously accept or deny the objective values of society.The essence of a virtuous person includes both morality and value andthe knowledge of what is morallygood or rightarguably, comes from within or from experience and these objective societal values can greatly contribute to a person’s identity and virtue.The external freedoms of persons such as constitutional rights hold immense value; however, because we live in a world that determines the very meaning of freedom and value itself, can man ever truly be free within?

Rebecca Seo

Freedom and God
Aristotle, even though he was born and lived before Christ, he acknowledged the existence of god. The god meant different from other religions for him. However, he was successful to verify the existence of god with his theory. Especially, the theory of teleology will be argued to prove the existence of god.  Moreover, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics will be used as the source for freewill. Furthermore, Augustine’s theory predestination will be used for God and freedom. Especially, the source, Retraction, will be used as Christian philosophy view. Since he was a Christian, he had different view on the God and freedom from Aristotle. The comparison of two different philosophers will be mentioned. More sources will be used to support their argument.