Three Puget Sound philosophy majors presented their work at the Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference last weekend. They report getting good feedback on their projects, having good conversations with philosophy students from other colleges, and enjoying the keynote address by Daniel Dennett. Here are their projects:
Lee Pennebaker ’15, “The Epistemological Significance and Implications of Belief Polarization”
Abstract: A principal assumption in the epistemology of disagreement is that we, as rational subjects, assess evidence neutrally in order to justify our beliefs. However, the existence of the phenomenon of Belief Polarization threatens the validity of this assumption. Belief Polarization brings to light significant claims about the nature of justification and belief forming processes, specifically concerning evidence gathering. As this paper will argue, once aware of the possibility of Belief Polarization, rational subjects should be less confident in the justification of their belief forming processes. In other words, rational subjects should not be fully confident in the truth of their beliefs.
Si-Won Song ’15, “Theorizing Transgender Identities and Legitimacy”
Abstract: My goal in this paper is to provide theoretical grounding for thinking about transgender identity. The theory I will be proposing allows for responding to popular criticisms of transgender identity and shows potential problems with popular and influential theories about transgender identity. I will try to reconcile the two claims of transgender accounts that allude to natural gender and feminist theories that argue against it. I will take the approach that gender is not natural or cohesive, but try to still give theoretical justification for transgender identities.
Abstract: I seek to determine whether or not the social imaginary that is created and constructed by film can constitute the Self in a way that makes us better ethical actors. Using the film M as a guide, I walk through how the Self is pieced together, and the impact that watching movies has on creating moral scripts that we end up following ourselves.