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ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.




This dissertation engages with the philosophical, psychological, and scientific literature on two important topics: empathy and human enhancement. My two broad goals are to clarify the role of empathy in ascriptions of responsibility and to consider how enhanced empathy might alter those ascriptions. First, I argue that empathy is best thought of as a two-component process. The first component is what I call the rational component of empathy (RCE). RCE is necessary for moral responsibility as it allows us to put ourselves in another's shoes and to realize that we would want help (or not to be harmed) if we …

Contributors
Gurney, David Paul, McGregor, Joan, Brake, Elizabeth, et al.
Created Date
2016

This paper examines the strength of a recent argument made against democracy. The notion of epistocracy, a system of government where the wise or the knowers rule, has garnered some attention of late. These theories of epistocracy have traditionally struggled with questions of political legitimacy and authority. In Against Democracy, Jason Brennan articulates an alternative theory for epistocracy which may prove more promising. Brennan argues instead that democracy faces objections of political legitimacy which epistocracy avoids because democracy either harms or violates rights as a result of granting political power to the incompetent. This negative argument against democracy hopes to …

Contributors
Zhang, Alexander, Brake, Elizabeth, Portmore, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2018

With the number of internationally-run clinical drug trials increasing, the double standards between those in developed nations and those in developing nations are being scrutinized under the ethical microscope. Many argue that several pharmaceutical companies and researchers are exploiting developing nation participants. Two issues of concern are the use of a placebo control when an effective alternative treatment exists and the lack of drug availability to the country that hosted the clinical trial should the experimental drug prove effective. Though intuitively this seems like an instance of exploitation, philosophically, exploitation theories cannot adequately account for the wrongdoing in these cases. …

Contributors
Fundora, Danielle Frances, Mcgregor, Joan, Brake, Elizabeth, et al.
Created Date
2013

Principles of climate mitigation in environmental ethics often draw on either considerations of fairness and forward-looking concerns, or on justice and backward-looking concerns. That is, according to some theorists, considerations of the current distribution of climate benefits and burdens are foremost, while others take repairing historic wrongs as paramount. Some theorists integrate considerations of fairness and justice to formulate hybrid climate principles. Such an integrative approach is promising particularly in the context of environmental harm to indigenous subsistence peoples, who are among those suffering the most from climate change. I argue that existing integrative climate principles tend not to sufficiently …

Contributors
Sweetland, Lauren, Brake, Elizabeth, Tsosie, Rebecca, et al.
Created Date
2014

Perhaps the most common and forceful criticism directed at absolutist deontological theories is that they allow for the occurrence of morally catastrophic events whenever such events could only and certainly be prevented by the violation of a deontological constraint. Some deontologists simply bite the bullet, accept this implication of their theory, and give their best arguments as to why it does not undermine absolutism. Others, I think more plausibly, opt for an alternative deontological theory known as ‘moderate deontology’ and are thereby able to evade the criticism since moderate deontology permits violations of constraints under certain extreme circumstances. The goal …

Contributors
Cook, Tyler Blake, Calhoun, Cheshire, Portmore, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2017

In their criticism of various approaches to upbringing and related American family law jurisprudence, liberal theorists tend to underweight the interests of parents in directing the development of children’s values. Considered through the lens of T.M. Scanlon’s contractualism, providing a good upbringing is not a matter of identifying children’s “best interests” or acting in accordance with overriding end-state principles. Rather, children should be raised in accordance with principles for the general regulation of behavior that no one could reasonably reject as a basis for informed, unforced general agreement. The process of ascertaining such principles requires an understanding of relevant values; …

Contributors
Pike, Kenneth, de Marneffe, Peter, Calhoun, Cheshire, et al.
Created Date
2019