Honours Thesis (HT) Presentations by Mr Reuben Yeo Wei Wen, Mr Tshin Qi Zhou, Ms Quek Boo Eng, Rachel, Ms Neo Jia Jing & Mr Ng Wan Jun

Date: 28 March 2019
Time: 2pm to 5.40pm
Venue: Philosophy Meeting Room (AS3-05-23)

2.00pm to 2.45pm
1st Presentation by Reuben Yeo Wei Wen

Title: Caring for Worlds to Come: Toward Non-Anthropocentric Cosmopolitanisms

Care ethics concerns itself less with judging individual acts and more with cultivating relationships in particular contexts, seeking to inquire into moral dimensions not encompassed by theories of justice. I attempt to show how integrating care ethics into cosmopolitan discourse can be useful in conceptualizing non-anthropocentric cosmopolitanisms. Identifying care as a central source of cosmopolitan desire, I argue for multispecies/ecological cosmopolitanism in some form or other.

2.45pm to 3.30pm
2nd Presentation by Tshin Qi Zhou

Title: It is: A Defence of the Etiological Account of Assertion

Williamson (2000), In Knowledge and its Limits, explains the oddness of ‘p but I don’t know that p’ by appealing to the Knowledge Norm of Assertion (KNA). This has given rise to at least two major debates in the literature of the norms of assertion. The first debate feature competing accounts, such as Weiner’s (2005) Truth Norm, Lackey’s (2007) Reasonable to Believe Norm, and Kvanvig’s (2009) Justification Norm, all of which claim to explain the same data with a less demanding norm. The second debate feature arguments against the necessary and sufficient conditions of KNA. My thesis is concerned with both debates. In my first section, I defend Kelp’s (2018) etiological account of assertion. There are two upshots associated with accepting such an account. First, we can derive KNA from the etiological account. Second, accepting that the function of assertion is knowledge provides independent motivation that KNA is the right account. In the second section of my paper, I put the etiological account to work by examining Brown’s (2008, 2010, 2011) arguments against the sufficient conditions of KNA and showing that none of her arguments work. If I am successful, then this should give us good reason to accept both the etiological account and KNA.

3.30pm to 4.15pm
3rd Presentation by Ng Wan Jun

Title: Hume’s Skepticism, Eudaimonia and the Golden Mean

Drawing inspiration from the ancient Greeks, I develop an interpretation of Hume as a pragmatic skeptic: Hume endorses skepticism only insofar as it is pragmatic to do so. While Hume accepts the negative conclusions of skeptical arguments, he does not think that we should abandon our everyday beliefs and practices in light of these conclusions. Rather, we should retain them, as we have pragmatic reasons for doing so. A reason is considered pragmatic when it contributes to our flourishing as human beings (eudaimonia). This flourishing is rooted in our (individual) human nature. I label this as eudaimonic virtues.
To support this interpretation, I examine Hume’s attitude towards the different kinds of philosophies and his views on human nature. I argue that Hume ultimately endorses mitigated skepticism because it is the “golden mean” between excessive skepticism and credulity. Possessing a moderate degree of skepticism is the approach that is best suited to our nature, one that allows us to flourish the most as human beings.

4.25pm to 5.10pm
4th Presentation by Neo Jia Jing

Title: Culpable Ignorance: from analysing blame motivation to achieving fair allocation

The current discourse of culpable ignorance is typically concerned with whether or not an agent is to be blamed or excused from blame for committing a culpably ignorant act. This paper sets out to examine more closely the motivation behind blame allocation on a culpably ignorant agent. I will argue that the standard connection view between blameworthiness and culpability assumed by the majority of the current literature fails to fairly and consistently allocate blame to the right agent(s). Given this, I will offer an alternative to analysing these cases, namely that we can understand the motivation behind blame allocation in terms of ‘should have known’. More specifically, two senses of ‘should have known’ are in play – the agent-relative and agent-neutral senses, which consequently generate agent-relative and agent-neutral blameworthiness respectively. I will proceed to make the case for the agent-relative sense of blame to be the more important and morally relevant of the two when confronted with cases of culpable ignorance.

5.10pm to 5.55pm
5th Presentation by Quek Boo Eng, Rachel

Title: The Origin of Speciesism

This paper will firstly seek to establish the pervasiveness of human exceptionalism and ‘human-centred’ speciesism through a series of thought experiments. The results of these experiments indicate that the presence of a hypothetical human in any situation results in the generation of different decision-making rules as compared to situations involving only non-human animals; at the very least, it seems to complicate the decision-making process by requiring that humans be given special consideration. The bulk of the paper will explore the basis of speciesism – what possible qualities exist, largely specific to humans, that differentiate humans from non-human animals and could justify this asymmetry in decision-making rules. Ultimately, it will be posited that the notion of human identity serves as the foundation of speciesism, in that the above-mentioned ‘qualities’ amalgamate to form a human individual’s identity. Closer inspection of each of the various facets of ‘human identity’ will indicate that this is not a suitably convincing or justified reason to prefer one’s own species over another – the foundation of speciesism is thus not quite as solid as it may be believed.

All are welcome

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