Honours Thesis (HT) Presentations by Mr Loo Kee Wei, Mr Cao Junbo,Ms Pang Ying Xuan Grace, Mr Koh Jia Ren & Mr Mohd Farizmi Chong Bin Alif Chong

Date: 7 March 2019
Time: 2pm
Venue: Philosophy Meeting Room AS3-05-23

2.00pm to 2.450pm
1st Presentation by Loo Kee Wei

Title: Modelling the Epistemic States of Moderately Ideal Agents

Attempts to model the epistemic states of logically omniscient agents and logically extreme agents have seen considerable progress, although they are not without their problems. Mark Jago has proposed a possible worlds framework that purportedly models the epistemic states of moderately ideal agents, and Jens Christian Bjerring argues that Jago’s model is untenable for various reasons. In my presentation, I will respond to Bjerring— by failing to draw a distinction between checking and finding, Bjerring’s objection to Jago may not be as robust as one might think it to be. Consequently, one might still hold on to the hope that a possible worlds framework might be a viable means to model the epistemic states of moderately ideal agents.

2.45pm to 3.30pm
2nd Presentation by Cao Junbo

Title: The Confusing Confucian Disagreement on Human Nature

A literal reading of the Xunzi chapter 23 suggests that Xunzi thought that human “性” is bad and disagreed with Mengzi that human “性” is good. Some scholars suggested that Xunzi misunderstood what Mencius meant by “性” and could, therefore, have been arguing past Mencius.
This essay aims to discuss whether there is a genuine disagreement between Xunzi and Mencius, and if there is, what is the basis of the disagreement. I argue that both Xunzi and Mengzi believes that (i) human beings can become good and that (ii) what Mengzi referred to as “性” plays an important role for (i). Nevertheless, Xunzi should disagree with Mengzi that Mengzi’s “性” is sufficient for (i). Since Mencius meant by “human 性 is good” that “human beings can become good”, the two propositions, if not identical in meaning, should at least mutually imply. Hence, according to his system of thought, Xunzi should still disagree with Mengzi’s proposition that “human 性is good” on the basis that Mengzi’s 性 is not sufficient for one to be able to become good.

3.30pm to 4.15pm
3rd Presentation by Pang Ying Xuan Grace

Title: Thought as Visual: Can Films Advance Philosophy?

My thesis opens up general thoughts about Film and its relation to Philosophy. Film is not often considered as suitable material for a Philosophical project, especially because of its fictional nature. And so, film’s capacity to philosophise is not immediately apparent to us. However, Stephen Mulhall argues that films do produce new ideas and contribute to existing philosophical discourse. Following from this, what is significant to this extant debate is the question of what it means to be “doing philosophy”. My paper will be split into three sections. Firstly, I will explicate Mulhall’s view and an opposite camp, represented by Julian Baggini. Subsequently, I aim to posit several arguments to show why Philosophy can come in come in the form of film in addition to the conventions of propositional arguments. And in light of this, my project will inevitably thread over some of the issues that have plagued the debate between the Arts and its contribution to Philosophy. Finally, as a case study, I will use a film to try and show if film can ‘do philosophy’.

4.25pm to 5.10pm
4th Presentation by Koh Jia Ren

Title: Nietzsche on Health

Concerns about health, of the body, mind, and soul, was of significant importance to Nietzsche, who himself suffered from a well-documented history of debilitating sickness. Surprisingly, there has been scant literature published focusing on this topic. Discussions about illness, madness and suffering have been extensive, and one might be inclined to simply flesh out a conception of Nietzschean health through its converse. However, it is not so straightforward, as Nietzsche finds certain forms of madness and suffering to be healthy, and takes illness and health not as an antithesis but a question of degrees. In my thesis, I will explicate the relationship between mind and body through health. I will discuss and improve upon a Nietzschean conception of the mind in terms of physiologically based drives in order to describe mental health. I will then discuss the health of the spirit; how it relates, and to what extent is reducible to the mind and body. Consolidating the previous sections, I will discuss how my Nietzschean conception of health relates to the will to power.

5.10pm to 5.40pm
5th Presentation by Mohd Farizmi Chong Bin Alif Chong

Title: Can you believe it? – Non-motivating doxastic reasons for belief

In this writing, I will argue that there are, amongst other possible reasons, pragmatic reasons for belief and not just evidential or, more generally, alethic, i.e., truth-related, ones. Further, I will argue that such reasons for belief, pragmatic or otherwise, that are neither evidential nor at least alethic, are non-motivating reasons for belief, i.e., they do not motivate beliefs despite being reasons for them. In order to do so, I aim to refute and built upon two recent arguments, one by Susanna Rinnard (forthcoming) and another by Andrew Reisner (forthcoming), that argue that there are motivating Pragmatic Reasons for belief. In brief, I agree with their arguments only to the extent that they reveal a fault line in thinking that our beliefs are either conceptually only aimed at truth (Conceptual Alethicism) or conceptually only based on evidential reasons (Conceptual Evidentialism).

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