2016 Senior Essays

Spring 2016 Senior Essays and Schedule

2016 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 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 Michael Riley right away of any problems.

Reuben Delay

 All men by nature, as you have probably read, desire to know. This essay focuses on discussion-based learning and how, through conversation, we can arrive at greater knowledge. When we engage in conversation our interaction, as with our learning, benefits from friendship. Aristotle’s exploration of friendship will compliment the analogies present in Plato’s Republic regarding the dialectic method. This essay will demonstrate why friendship is the ideal environment for discussion-based learning.

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Date:
Time:
Location:
Tsukahara
TBD
TBD
Fri. 4/8 3:30
Dante 203
Aracely Maravilla

What The Hill Does Tom Know?

An essay concerning Tom Jones and the Man of the Hill, and how human nature plays a role in the paths we take in life.

I will be analyzing the Man of the Hill, using Rousseau's "A Discourse on Inequality", and Tom Jones to try to determine what, in their natures, led them on the paths they have taken. Hopefully this paper will answer the question "Why did Tom Jones not end up like the Man of the Hill?"

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Date:
Time:
Location:
Martinez
TBD
 TBD
Wed. 4/13
2:40
Dante 203
Aly Runke

Platopia: The Republic and Why it isn't Socrate's Eden

Mankind seeks perfection. It is pattern consistent in philosophers the world over- the perfect soul, the perfect definitions, the perfect society. In Plato's Republic one sees the constitution of the perfect city, but is that really so? Instead could the Republic be a parody of humanity's unconscious desire for perfection to warn against corruption and to outline true Justice through such parody and a dystopian society painted as utopia. This essay will explore the true motives of Plato's Republic by outlining the city as a dystopia on and pulling the lessons truly hidden its construction for the reader.

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Date:
Time:
Location:
Riley
Tsukahara
 
Wed. 4/13 4:10
Dante 203
Jenni Chavez
 
 
What is love? A dynamic emotion that molds the world around us and paves the paths we lead, love is complex, protean, and multifaceted. How does love affect us? Love can be a source of fulfillment, of happiness, of unbridled joy. However, love can also be the source of sinister plots, an insidious desire for domination, and the unraveling of an individual’s reason. This essay endeavors to examine the characterization of love and the effects of love on the characters of Racine’s Phédre. Within these pages, we shall investigate love’s role in human tragedy.
Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Date:
Time:
Location:
Martinez
TBD
 
Fri, 4/15 3:30
Dante 203
Shane McCarthy

The Rewards of Injustice: The Justice of Inversion in Dante's Inferno

Dante’s Inferno is both an epic story and shocking theological journey, but how do we understand the possible contradictions of his framing of justice with his punishments of inversion? What is inversion and how does he use it? What is its significance? What message is he conveying to us, and what do we learn about the nature of evil actions? We will piece together Dante’s designs, and walk with him as he witnesses the heart of darkness to learn what it truly is. 

(Updated 4/13/2016)

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Time:
Location:
Hamm
TBD
Wed. 4/20 3:30
Dante 203
Meg Birgen

 Medea and Othello: Subversions of Aristotle's Archetypal Tragic Heroes

What makes the archetypal tragic hero according to Aristotle’s Poetics? How does the poet subvert this archetype to manifest their characters’ disadvantaged place in society? Using Euripides’ Medea and Shakespeare’s Othello as examples, I will explore the inadequacies of Aristotle’s definition of the tragic hero. I then conclude by proposing my own definition.

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Time:
Location:
Cobeen
TBD
Fri 4 22 3:30
Dante 203
Zoë de Lellis

The Journey to Redemption: An Examination of the Relationships in Goethe's Faust

A perfect mirror shows a perfect image of what it reflects. When a person looks in a mirror they see themselves clearly, but they see a reflected image and so when viewing themselves as others see them, as in photos, they may think themselves partially unrecognizable, as they are not used to seeing the image this way. In Goethe’s play, Faust, Goethe uses characters that mirror each other to bring up the question of whether Faust is a good person. This essay will look at the relationships in Faust and use them to examine Faust’s journey to redemption. 

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Time:
Location:
Pihas
TBD
Wed. 4/27 3:30
Dante 203
Callie Camper

From Knowledge to Wisdom: the Journey to a Personal Relationship with God

The search for God began as a search for natural knowledge. Mythology was replaced by philosophy as opinion concerning the natural world transformed into knowledge concerning the unlimited and transcendent. As pagan philosophy was replaced by Christian philosophy, the search for knowledge of a higher realm focused its inquiries into a search for God at a personal level. How did we evolve from an impersonal knowledge of an detached creator to an individual and personal wisdom in God? This essay will explore texts from Plato, Plotinus, and Saint Augustine in the search to find out what it means to have knowledge and wisdom in God. 

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Time:
Location:
Pihas
TBD
Mon. 5/9 4:30
Galileo 214
Jon Gumz

Character Indentification: A Guide to Yourself

How do readers identify with a character in a narrative? Is there any value in identification? These are the two questions I attempt to answer in my essay. I use two methods for recreating identification; in hopes of creating the opportunity to experience identification with a character, or to induce a recollection of a character previously identified with. My attempt focuses on two characters; Aeneas from Virgil’s Aeneid and Prince Andrew in Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. After examination and evaluation of my two methods, I present the significance of identification: both for myself, and for readers.

 Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Time:
Location:

Cardwell
Smith
Mon. 5/2
 3:30
Galileo 214

Henry Hall

The Way of the One

What theories could Lao Tzu and Plotinus possibly have in common? The two lived 800 years apart, Lao Tzu in China and Plotinus in Rome. Plotinus seeks unity with the source of existence namely, "The One," while Lao Tzu pursues the motion of existence namely, "the way." In their pursuit to understand the Universe and its source, Lao Tzu and Plotinus face a common paradox: division to produce relation is the condition for knowledge, while it is also the condition that renders knowledge of the whole, as the whole, impossible. The two have their own distinct methods of working with this paradox to understand the whole. Given the common scope and difficulties of the two theories, we explore the possibility of merging Lao Tzu's and Plotinus' respective theories.

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Time:
Location:
Cortright
TBD
Fri  5/6 1:30
Galileo 210B
Erica Rohach

I Fear The Versed

 “That which produces an effect well must also produce it, but that which merely produces a given effect does not necessarily produce it well.” ~ Aristotle, on Rohach’s I Fear the Versed

Ahh, the annual poetry thesis! You know the type to which I refer. A senior in the Integral Program, starved for a topic or too long comfortable resting on the conclusion “I know that I know nothing,” turns to flowery ode or sonnet to seek answers about the meaning of life. Rohach, with an eye to the work of the crusty old Roman, Lucretius, will attempt to show what poetry really is: a sham. Using a rickety rope bridge of evidence, she will struggle to prove that fluff and trickery alone lie beneath the “beauty” of verse.

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Time:
Location:
Zepeda
TBD
Tues. 4/26 4:00
Galileo 210b
Amanda Muña

An Inquiry into the Condition of Man

Consider your life. Done? Good. Now — any questions? If the answer is yes (like many others before you), congratulations! You have entered the game. Around us there exists a world full of answers, but none that answer the singular, perpetual question of our existence: “Why?” Through an examination of Pascal’s Pensees, we the readers attempt to discover any truth we can regarding our fundamental contradictions, our reason and heart, and ultimately, the human condition itself. What we find is an amazing complexity that we could never understand; and yet we live it every day. So go on, give it a read. After all, you are already playing.

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Time:
Location:
Zepeda
TBD
Tues. 5/3 4:00
Galileo 210b
Henry Ward

Philosophical Fools: An Examination of Materialism in Denis Diderot's Rameau's Nephew

No comedy is complete without a fool; every Spongebob needs a Patrick, every Quixote needs a Sancho Panza. This essay examines the role of the Fool as a device, and explores the Fool's usefulness to literature: using Denis Diderot's Rameau's Nephew as a means of investigating the Fool. Diderot will demonstrate how fools are linked to the philosophy of materialism and cynicism, and how, by association, people consumed by either materialism or cynicism are simply foolish.

Advisor:
Faculty Reader:
Time:
Location:
Yribarren
TBD
Wed. 5/11 3:30
Dante 203