Southwestern

Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Philosophy

Student Stories

Our current capstone students are busy working on a number of independent research projects.  At Southwestern, the capstone course for majors, or Colloquium, is conceived as a collaborative workshop in which each student pursues an independent research project under the guidance of the philosophy faculty as a whole.  Over the course of the semester, all students present their research as it develops for the class as a whole to critique and assist in developing.  The culminating achievement is a public presentation of a key section of each research paper followed by the submission of the final thesis.  

Kevin Lentz

My capstone will be looking at critical theories regarding the urban phenomenon of gentrification as it relates to the general economic dynamics of Capitalism. Specifically, it will be exploring how and in what ways is gentrification both facilitated by and beneficial to the Capitalist mode of production in general. The texts I will be drawing from are: Uneven Development; Nature, Capital, and the Production of Space by Neil Smith, Rebel Cities; from the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution by David Harvey, and The Production of Space by Henri Lefebvre.

Sadie Clarendon

My area of interest is examining women’s presence and experience in the discipline of philosophy, and why it is difficult for women to overcome patriarchal structures and stereotypes in a discipline that has a reputation for self-critique and evolution. This means I will try to 1) identify the structures within the discipline of philosophy that prevent women from having full participation in the discipline, 2) give examples of some of the repercussions and results of these structures, and 3) offer some ways to change (and also considering the option to avoid completely) these structures. Some useful sources that have shaped my thinking on this topic are Women in Philosophy: What Needs to Change? ed. Katrina Hutchinson and Fiona Jenkins; Singing in the Fire: Stories of Women in Philosophy ed. Linda Martín Alcoff; and Feminism and Philosophy: Perspectives on Difference and Equality by Moira Gatens.

Alan Ramos

My capstone project will be concerned with the question of why Western philosophy constitutes itself in an exclusionary manner. Using philosophy’s earliest definition of “love for wisdom”, I will explore how that love for wisdom takes an exclusionary form in the West and how we can potentially open philosophy to other forms of wisdom. In doing so, I will engage primarily with prominent Latin philosophers, in works such as Enrique Dussell’s Transmodernity, Walter Mignolo’s Bilanguaging Love, and Subcomandante Marcos’ The Story of Colors.   

Joshua Page

I am interested in the relationship between contemporary behavioral genetics and Aristotelian philosophy. I am looking at Aristotle’s Physics, De Anima, and Nicomachean Ethics in addition to scientific literature and philosophy of science works by Evelyn Fox Keller. In framing our understanding of science as a metaphysics and viewing Aristotle’s work as a model in which to view genetics I hope to develop a more complete understanding of the way in which we engage with our genome.

Hunter White

My project is an examination of Nietzsche’s Ethics. The purpose of this research is to illuminate the character of the type of ethics Nietzsche proposed and for which he advocated.  To accomplish this project, I will engage most of his major works, with a focus on:

Beyond Good and Evil
What Nietzsche really said
Twilight of the Idols

The Anti-Christ 

Sarah Cook

For my capstone, I will be exploring the ways in which American culture’s presentation of terrorism has been formed by capitalist ideology. More specifically, I will argue that mass commodification not only manufactures the “war on terror” concept, but frames and dictates our discussion of terrorism — either consciously or subconsciously — by positioning it within a consumer-culture paradigm. I will be using Karl Marx, Roland Barthes, Guy Debord, and Paul Virilio, as well as political cartoons, news reports, and political speeches from the past 13 years.