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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.


Subject
Date Range
2010 2019


This thesis seeks to defend transitivity as a rational constraint on preferences against two putative counterexamples to transitivity. This thesis is divided into three sections. In the first section, I consider two famous and popular arguments in defense of transitivity and argue they are insufficient to adequately defend transitivity. I then outline a desiderata for successful arguments in defense of transitivity and identify some basic assumptions I will be making throughout the thesis. In section two, I consider the first putative counterexample to transitivity: Quinn’s Puzzle of the Self-Torturer. I offer two plausible interpretations of Quinn’s puzzle and argue that …

Contributors
Calloway, Carson, Armendt, Brad, Portmore, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2015

This study questioned how the Navajo Nation was going to mitigate and/or adapt to Global Climate Change. By employing a Diné philosophy based research methodology this study seeks to holistically reframe the lens that the Navajo Nation conceptualizes Global Climate Change. The study uses a comprehensive review of literature that pertained to four research questions. The research questions are: 1) What do Diné oral histories say about climate change? 2) How is the Navajo Nation going to mitigate and adapt to changes to the climate using Western knowledge? 3) How can Diné research methodologies help inform policies that will mitigate …

Contributors
Atencio, Mario, Killsback, Leo K, Tippeconnic, John, et al.
Created Date
2015

Wittgenstein’s claim: anytime something is seen, it is necessarily seen as something, forms the philosophical foundation of this research. I synthesize theories and philosophies from Simondon, Maturana, Varela, Wittgenstein, Pye, Sennett, and Reddy in a research process I identify as a paradigm construction project. My personal studio practice of inventing experiential media systems is a key part of this research and illustrates, with practical examples, my philosophical arguments from a range of points of observation. I see media systems as technical objects, and see technical objects as structurally determined systems, in which the structure of the system determines its organization. …

Contributors
Lahey, Byron Robert, Burleson, Winslow, Xin Wei, Sha, et al.
Created Date
2015

Do emotions help explain our behaviors? Can they condemn us, excuse us, orr mitigate our moral responsibility orr blameworthiness? Can they explain our rationality and irrationality, orr warrant such attributions? Can they be justified orr warranted? Are they constitutive aspects of our consciousness, identity, characters, virtues, orr epistemic status? The answer to these questions, at least to a significant extent, depends on what emotions are. This illustrates the importance of what emotions are to academics across multiple disciplines, as well as to members of governing bodies, organizations, communities, and groups. Given the great importance of emotions to various aspects of …

Contributors
Mun, Cecilea, Calhoun, Cheshire, Kobes, Bernard, et al.
Created Date
2014

This Thesis contends that if the designer of a non-biological machine (android) can establish that the machine exhibits certain specified behaviors or characteristics, then there is no principled reason to deny that the machine can be considered a legal person. The thesis also states that given a related but not necessarily identical set of characteristics, there is no principled reason to deny that the non-biological machine can make a claim to a level of moral personhood. It is the purpose of my analysis to delineate some of the specified behaviors required for each of these conditions so as to provide …

Contributors
Calverley, David J., Armendt, Brad, Mcgregor, Joan, et al.
Created Date
2011

A central task for historians and philosophers of science is to characterize and analyze the epistemic practices in a given science. The epistemic practice of a science includes its explanatory goals as well as the methods used to achieve these goals. This dissertation addresses the epistemic practices in gene expression research spanning the mid-twentieth century to the twenty-first century. The critical evaluation of the standard historical narratives of the molecular life sciences clarifies certain philosophical problems with respect to reduction, emergence, and representation, and offers new ways with which to think about the development of scientific research and the nature …

Contributors
Racine, Valerie, Maienschein, Jane, Laubichler, Manfred D, et al.
Created Date
2016

In this discussion I will state fundamental principles of Kelsen's Legal Positivism in International Law and explain four problems with his theory. I will then propose two suggestions in the light of which Kelsen's theory is modified in this discussion and explain how these two suggestions address the four problems and help the theory account for regime change. Finally, I will address possible objections to the view advanced in this discussion. Dissertation/Thesis

Contributors
Ioannidis, Christoforos, De Marneffe, Peter, French, Peter, et al.
Created Date
2012

Saying, "if Mary had watered Sam's plant, it wouldn't have died," is an ordinary way to identify Mary not watering Sam's plant as the cause of its death. But there are problems with this statement. If we identify Mary's omitted action as the cause, we seemingly admit an inordinate number of omissions as causes. For any counterfactual statement containing the omitted action is true (e.g. if Hillary Clinton had watered Sam's plant, it wouldn't have died). The statement, moreover, is mysterious because it is not clear why one protasis is more salient than any alternatives such as "if Sam hadn't …

Contributors
Henne, Paul, Kobes, Bernard W, Pinillos, Nestor A, et al.
Created Date
2013

There is ample evidence from psychology and cognitive science that a person's beliefs, memories, expectations, concepts, and desires can influence how that person perceives the world. In other words, the way an object looks (the color, size, shape, etc.) to a person can vary according to his or her beliefs, memories, desires, and so on. But a person is principally justified in his or her beliefs about the world by how things look to that person. So, if how things look to a person justifies that person's beliefs about the world, and that person's prior beliefs, memories, and desires influence …

Contributors
Crutchfield, Parker Avery Simon, Reynolds, Steven, Cohen, Stewart, et al.
Created Date
2011

One activity for which philosophers are perhaps best known is having disputes with one another. Some non-philosophers, and increasingly many philosophers, believe that a number of these disputes are silly or misguided in some way. Call such silly or misguided disputes defective disputes. When is a dispute defective? What kinds of defective disputes are there? How are these different kinds of defective disputes different from one another? What does it mean to call a dispute 'merely verbal'? These questions come up for consideration in Part One of this manuscript. In Part Two I examine whether certain disputes in ontology and …

Contributors
Marsh, Gerald Horton, French, Peter, Creath, Richard, et al.
Created Date
2011

Emergentism offers a promising compromise in the philosophy of mind between Cartesian substance dualism and reductivistic physicalism. The ontological emergentist holds that conscious mental phenomena supervene on physical phenomena, but that they have a nature over and above the physical. However, emergentist views have been subjected to a variety of powerful objections: they are alleged to be self-contradictory, incompatible with mental causation, justified by unreliable intuitions, and in conflict with our contemporary scientific understanding of the world. I defend the emergentist position against these objections. I clarify the concepts of supervenience and of ontological novelty in a way that ensures …

Contributors
Watson, Jeffrey J., Kobes, Bernard W, Pinillos, Nestor, et al.
Created Date
2013

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

At present, the ideological bias in the human enhancement debate holds that opponents to human enhancement are primarily techno-conservatives who, lacking any reasonable, systematic account of why we ought to be so opposed, simply resort to a sort of fear-mongering and anti-meliorism. This dissertation means to counteract said bias by offering just such an account. Offered herein is a heuristic explanation of how, given a thorough understanding of enhancement both as a technology and as an attitude, we can predict a likely future of rampant commodification and dehumanization of man, and a veritable assault on human flourishing. Dissertation/Thesis

Contributors
Milleson, Valerye Michelle, Mcgregor, Joan, Robert, Jason, et al.
Created Date
2012

This dissertation consists of three essays, each of which closely relates to epistemic norms for rational doxastic states. The central issue is whether epistemic rationality is impermissive or not: For any total evidence E, is there a unique doxastic state that any possible agent with that total evidence E should take (Uniqueness), or not (Permissivism)? “Conservatism and Uniqueness”: Conservatism is the idea that an agent’s beliefs should be stable as far as possible when she undergoes a learning experience. Uniqueness is the idea that any given body of total evidence uniquely determines what it is rational to believe. Epistemic Impartiality …

Contributors
Jung, Jaemin, Armendt, Brad, Portmore, Douglas W, 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

The purpose of this thesis is to present and analyze experimental evidence involving anti-substitution intuitions about co-referential names in simple sentences. In her book Simple Sentences, Substitution, and Intuitions, Jennifer Saul claims that anti-substitution intuitions involving co-referential names in simple sentences are particularly resistant, so much so that they exist even when one is given an identity statement that shows that the two names refer to the same individual. She uses this claim to motivate her thesis that a psychological explanation is needed to understand why these anti-substitution intuitions exist. Her theory is that before people know that two names …

Contributors
Zimmerman, Thomas Scott, Pinillos, Nestor, Reynolds, Steven, et al.
Created Date
2014

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

Authenticity has been conceived of in several different ways with various meanings and implications. The existential conception has the advantage of tracking authenticity from the phenomenology of human beings and their lived, social experience. From Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger’s criteria for existentialist authenticity, I develop the argument that authentic, feminist projects are necessarily one mode of being authentic within a patriarchal society. In defining a conception of authenticity out of Sartre and Heidegger’s terms, the question of what qualifies as an authentic feminist project arises as well as the question of what sort of content qualifies as authentic. While …

Contributors
Scott, Siera Aubrey Lee, Huntington, Patricia, Calhoun, Cheshire, et al.
Created Date
2017

Above all else, this project is about parentage in the modern American legal system and culture. Advanced reproductive technologies require our courts to reconsider the long-standing presumption that a child has only one female mother and one male father. We now have children of choice, rather than chance. Assisted Reproductive Technology and its widespread availability and use and changed the landscape of parentage maybe forever. And the children of such efforts remain largely unprotected by our current legal system that favors reproduction by chance within a recognized marriage or at the least, a traditional two-parent paradigm. However, assisted reproduction calls …

Contributors
Ross, Jane O., Johnson, John, Hepburn, John, et al.
Created Date
2012

ABSTRACT Forgiveness is a response to moral wrongdoing motivated by moral reasons. Long thought to be the overcoming of resentment, I will present T.M. Scanlon's view that it is best understood as the decision to blame no longer, i.e. to give up the judgment that one's relationship with another is impaired. Forgiveness has been traditionally thought of as having its locus in the forgiver. However, this has led to a number of accounts in which forgiveness has been presented as a one-sided undertaking, compromising the interpersonal character of the act. I propose a different way of viewing forgiveness, namely as …

Contributors
D'Angelo, Cindy, De Marneffe, Peter L., Murphy, Jeffrie G., et al.
Created Date
2010