Spring 2018 Senior Essays and Schedule

2018 Senior Essays and Schedule

All faculty and students are welcome to attend any of the senior essay seminars. Assigned faculty and student readers can download a copy of an essay (when they become available) here by clicking on its title.

Click here for a schedule calendar; there will no doubt be some adjustments, so check often for updates. Please notify Tutor Felicia Martinez right away of any problems.

Elizabeth Casey

 Title: Heroes through History

 Abstract: Everyone adores heroes. Tales of character performing heroic deeds began before writing even existed in oral stories passed down over generations. The definition of what makes a person “heroic” has evolved over time; our modern understanding of heroes differs greatly from that of the ancient Greeks. Yet despite these differences, some characters transcend the boundaries of society to become heroes immortalized in all cultures for all time. . . . I personally love heroes. I love reading how they overcome all the obstacles in their path. They hold values which are the most embodied virtues of their society. But I wonder, do societies create their own heroes? Or do heroes create societies?

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Date:
Time:
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Readers:
Cardwell

May 8
3:30pm
Dante 219
Margaret Carlton
Dylan Connell

Title: State of Nature

Abstract: A short story and essay which integrate modern scientific breakthroughs in biological anthropology, with the political philosophies of our program’s social contract theorists.

Authors: Shelly, Rousseau, Hobbes, Darwin.

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Date:
Time:
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Readers:
Zepeda
Cortright
April 20
1pm
D214
Lea McGhee
Steven Wieser
Kenji Rautenberg
Felicia Good

Title: Truth and Christianity in Don Quixote: Remaking the World With the Game of Storytelling

Abstract: What is truth? What is the difference between fiction and history? How does one know? In Don Quixote, Cervantes calls the reader to question truth and knowledge itself, particularly in relation to the unquestioned perspective of the Christian and Catholic religion. Through language and the game of storytelling, Cervantes and his characters together remake a world in which the reader can re-evaluate their assumptions and determine what is madness and what is sanity, after all.

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Date:
Time:
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Readers:
Martinez
Michael Riley
April 20
3:30pm
D203
Julia Stanislav, Alicia McCallister
Hayley Hamer

Title: Saying the Same Thing: What is it to Agree?

Abstract: What does it mean for many to say the same thing? 

“I say ‘____’; what do you say?”
“I say the same.”
Uses primarily Hegel and Aristotle to examine different levels of language, including: voice (ability to make noise), speech as an awareness of things, spoken beliefs, and philosophical discourse. Searches for the link between language and the spirit/soul. What is the force that units all speakers?

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Date:
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Readers:
Cortright
TBD
May 4
1pm
GAL 214
Lea McGhee
Alicia McCallister
Dylan Williams
Alex Keener

Title: The Stuff of Legend: What it Means to Be a Hero and Why Beowulf and Pierre Bezukhov Belong in the Same League

 Abstract: What does it mean to be a hero? I aim to challenge and re-evaluate how we define what a hero is and should be. First, through an examination of a conventional hero in Beowulf, and then testing that definition against an unconventional hero in Pierre Bezukhov of War and Peace. I argue that the definition of a hero should be changed, and then through an analysis of Pierre Bezukhov’s character I show that he meets the criteria and should be considered just as much a hero as the likes of Beowulf or even Hector.

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
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Doval
TBD
April 27
1pm
GAL 214
Steven Wieser
Isaac Choi
Jack Fouts
Alicia McCallister

Title:Ἰδιαί Ἀρχαί: Disputes from the Beginning

Abstract:
What happens when there are multiple proposals for the ἰδιαί ἀρχαί of a particular science? In other words, what if different definitions are proposed for key terms or there are different permissions or limitations as to what is able to be done? Explore this question in reference to the science of metaphysics with the help of Aristotle, Euclid, Kant, and Newton.

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Date:
Time:
Location:
Readers:
Zepeda
Cortright
May 2
1pm
D203
Steven Wieser
Ryan Villegas
Sophia Courtemarche
Halen, Ornella, April
Lea McGhee

Title: Sympathy for the Devil

Abstract: In this essay I will be exploring the devil figures in both Job and Faust. It may be easy and familiar to identify the devil as we see in Job. This Satan figure is considered to be the negator of truth or the master of destruction, but I am interested in other devil figures like, Mephisto in Goethe’s Faust, who plays the role of trickster and instigator. This essay will attempt to gain a deeper understanding as to what the devil character’s roles are in both texts, and whether or not they are solely present in order to cause misfortune and chaos amongst humans. I say, Goethe’s version of the devil is simply used to challenge the supposed faith and understanding humans have of life on Earth and God. Can one say that the devil is of help to human experience of Job and Faust?

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Date:
Time:
Location:
Readers:
Cortright
Doval
April 24
3;30pm
D219
Hayley Hamer
Dylan Connell
Jordan Barcena
Jill Hubbard
Brenda O'Connor
Crystal Monroy
Corbin O’Connor

Title: The Prison of Skepticism

Abstract: Reason furnishes one with the means of preserving the self, but it fails to address why one ought to preserve the self. This is an attempt to determine whether one’s faculty of reason, and its ability to liberate them from the laws imposed by necessity, is the truly means by which they are able to attain a state of liberty. John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding provides a definition of volition, thereby establishing the foundation for a new notion of choice, as it is understood in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, and Soren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling.

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Date:
Time:
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Readers:
Martinez
TBD
April 13
1pm
GAL 214
Michael Maynard
Anna West
Elise Yockelson
Julia Stanislav

Title: “Is Chivalry Dead?: An Examination of the Women in Don Quixote”

Abstract: In Don Quixote, Cervantes satirizes an antiquated chivalric code through the comical misadventures a of self-declared knight errant who wants to make reality mirror his beloved books of chivalry. One of the main conditions of chivalry on which Don Quixote focuses is coming to the aid of damsels in distress. Cervantes shows just how unnecessary and unhelpful his knight errant’s obsession with saving vulnerable women is through creating several strong, capable, and independent female characters who challenge the chivalric trope of the damsel in distress. Despite their self-sufficiency, these female characters are limited by the patriarchal society in which they live, which, in many ways, perpetuates chivalric and discriminatory views of women. Has chivalry been preserved to such an extent that there is no need for Don Quixote to “reinstate" it? If the the outdated chivalric society which Cervantes critiques and the current society are so similar, is Cervantes also critiquing the current society?

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Date:
Time:
Location:
Readers:
Martinez
TBD
April 10
3:30
D219
Arabella Romero
Lea McGhee
Anna West
Ryan Villegas

Title: Mimesis in Historiography

Abstract: To who or what do we owe our knowledge of the past? Shall we praise the historians for recording any number of such events? "This historian says that the Ancient Greeks fought the battle of Salamis in this way", says one student of Classics. "But", says another student, "that cannot be so! For this other historian claims that the battle of Salamis manifested in another way!" Multiple contending interpretations about one event thus ensue. How is this the case? Is it even possible for historians to accurately record and report such events? In this essay, I will explore such questions pertaining to the validity of historiography as a general discipline by looking towards the aristotelian standard for history and poetry. To this end, I will weave in an examination of mimesis in its various manifestations, while also exploring the nature of causality and how it poses problems to historiography.

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
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Location:
Readers:
Christo
TBD
April 13
3:30pm
D203
Dylan Connell
Steven Wieser
Manny Simon
Brenda O'Connor
Nika Worth
Anna West

Title: A Journey on the River: The Manifestation of Cicero's Model of Friendship in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Abstract: An examination of the friendship between Huckleberry Finn and Jim based on the definitions of friendship proposed by Cicero in De Amicitia and Aristotle in the Nichomachean Ethics.

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
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Readers:
Christo
TBD
May 2
3:30pm
D203
Julia Stanislav
Lea McGhee
Damian Cortez
Spencer Bruno
Julian Zepeda
Steven Wieser

Title: A Critique of Faith: Dante and Kierkegaard on the Phenomenon of Belief

Abstract: How do we understand what is meant by belief in God?

This piece seeks to explore the nature of faith from the Abrahamic tradition (specifically with an eye towards Christian theology) by considering the methods of definition used by Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy and Søren Kierkegaard in Fear and Trembling. Beginning with an examination of their primary definitions, this piece seeks to explore these authors’ differing accounts of the origins and authorities through which faith functions, and how such faith interacts with other elements of human existence (i.e. morality). Throughout, the piece shall consider the works of poetic writing brought forth by these two authors in their own descriptions of faith through an exploration of fiction and imaginative/hypothetical works towards reaching or approximating the transcendent.

This discussion seeks neither to defend nor excoriate the practices or teachings of particular religious institutions, nor does it intend to prove or disprove the existence of a God. The focus instead lies with investigating the human elements of faith as presented through Dante’s and Kierkegaard’s work, and providing an analytical evaluation of what these two authors have brought forth on the topic.

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Date:
Time:
Location:
Readers:
Hamm
Riley
April 18
1pm
D203
Alex Keener
Julia Stanislav
Margaret Carlton
Rodrigo Flores

Title: A Path to Freedom from the Shackles of Appearances

Abstract: Epictetus’ Enchiridion can server as a practical manual to free ourselves from the shackles in Plato’s allegory of the cave.

 

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Date:
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Readers:
Cardwell
Patton
May 11
1pm
Gal 214
Ryan Villegas
Alex Keener
Alexus Trujillo