Skip to main content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer content

Student Honors Papers

The Student Honors Papers collection represents exemplary work in philosophy at Illinois Wesleyan University. The Ames Library is proud to archive these and other honors projects in Digital Commons @ IWU, the University's online archive of student, faculty and staff scholarship and creative activity.

This paper aims to elucidate the dyadic concepts of machismo and marianismo in Latinx culture, especially Chicano culture. Though most people have an understanding of what it is for someone, especially a man, to “be macho,” the concept of machismo is elusive. Marianismo is lesser known, but to the extent that it is understood, it’s understood as reinforcing the oppressive properties traditionally associated with machismo. Following Audre Lorde’s analysis of the erotic, my analysis of machismo and marianismo will reveal that while these concepts include misogynist subcultures, they also offer empowering modes of being in a racist society that any Latinx can embody regardless of their gender identity. Taken in this latter way, machismo and marianismo can actually be used to dismantle some of the oppressive structures that have held toxic versions of these concepts in place. For example, when Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is challenging her male colleagues in Congress, she is performing machismo in an empowering, patriarchy-disrupting way.

Typically, the machismo-marianismo dyad tracks closely to the masculine-feminine binary, but I reject this notion. The dyadic relationship between machismo and marianismo is characterized by two types of empowering energy. On the one hand, machismo is proud, aggressive, resistant, and status-focused. On the other hand, marianismo is humble, supportive, submissive, and family-focused. Machismo is associated with non-domestic spheres primarily, e.g., business, commerce, and professional achievement. Marianismo is associated with nurturing, soothing, spirituality, and domestic diplomacy. In a patriarchal society, men tend to perform machismo and women tend to perform marianismo, but this dyad is fluid with respect to gender. Women can perform machismo, men can perform marianismo, and individuals across the spectrum can perform both. In this ameliorative project, the machismo-marianismo dyad will be a resource for marginalized groups to tap into in order to overcome systemic oppression. My goal is for machismo and marianismo to be used when needed by all Latinx gender identities to uplift them and give them strength to overcome systemic injustice while also addressing the historical impacts that machismo has had on Latinx feminist movements.

This paper aims to elucidate the intimate connection between bisexual erasure, bi-invisibility, and epistemic injustices. I employ Miranda Fricker and Charlie Crerar’s understandings of hermeneutical injustice and testimonial injustice to articulate the harms caused by bisexual erasure and bi-invisibility. Then, I delineate bi-invisibility and four types of bierasure (biased, testimonial, strategic, and constructionist) to show the relationship between bi-invisibility and bierasure and epistemic harms. To do so, I employ the paradigm case method.

At the request of the author, this abstract is also not available.

Over the last decade, many political analyst’s multiple has observed what they perceive to be a crisis of democracy in advanced developed democracies. These analysts associate the crisis of democracy with declines in party membership, widespread distrust in representative government, and a lack of participation in electoral practices. However, although there is a large literature that maintains that political parties are the ‘gatekeepers’ of democracy, the critical role of political parties in intensifying the democratic crisis has not been adequately examined. This paper offers a theoretical account of party function for the electorate, the party organization, and the government to understand how the diminishment may undermine democratic norms. This paper focuses its empirical analysis on polarization in the United States and examines changes in co-sponsorship of congressional bills and circuit court judge confirmations.

Since the 2016 US Presidential election, the topic of fake news has become extremely prevalent on a global scale. However, the recent issue of disinformation manufactured by malevolent agents has given rise to new potential problems that have led to harmful consequences. Such problematic consequences have led various government institutions to responds in a variety of ways. Given the problematic consequences of these types of actions, should governments intervene by regulating or prohibiting fake news? To answer this question, I present Seana Shiffrin’s unique theory regarding the value of free speech. Within this account, Shiffrin’s follows an autonomy type theory of freedom of speech that emphasizes the central role of participants in speech and cognition. From this theory, Shiffrin gives a clear unique account about the value of speech. In other words, Shiffrin argues that freedom of speech should focus on thinkers themselves and protecting their freedom of thought. Notably, I believe the benefits to this thinker-based theory rival those of other competing theories. More importantly, she able to draw a distinction between sincere and insincere speech. With the potential dangers that fake news poses to the free development and operations of the thinker’s mind, Shiffrin’s compelling view leaves open the possibility that fake news is regulable because insincere speech lacks the value that other speech encompasses.

This paper contributes to the defense of the nonderivability thesis; that is, the thesis that no set of purely descriptive statements can entail an evaluative statement. Thus, it is impossible to give objective justification of any value judgment.

This paper examines the function of communication, philosophy, and religion and moreover, their necessity to the awareness of being.

This paper compares Rudolph Bultmann and Emil Brunner, and combines and analyzes existentialism, theology, and demythologizing.

This paper begins with a study of the philosophical thought preceding Platonism and Aristotlianism [sic], in order that we might have a clear understanding of the issues with which these two men dealt. It is essential for us to understand Platonism and Aristotlianism [sic] for two reasons: first, it is within the framework of thought of these two men that succeeding philosophy has largely worked; secondly, if one understands the issues with which these men struggled, he will understand the issues with which modern philosophy deals. Therefore, some space in the paper has been allotted to the thought of these men.

Within this paper a physicalist account of phenomenal experience is presented in a roughly four part process. First, Levine's "explanatory gap" and Kripke's argument against type-identity physicalism are presented as examples of anti-physicalist arguments to be countered. Kripke's arguments request an explanation for the felt contingency of the statement 'pain is C-fiber firing.' Levine's explanatory gap is the inability of statements like 'pain is C-fiber firing' to explain within physicalist theories why C-fiber firing feels like pain. In the second part a physicalist account ofphenomenal experience is presented. This account relies upon a formalization of the mereological structure of events. A relation between events called the 'observation relation' is introduced and used to formalize observations made in everyday life. In the third step this account of events is used to defeat Kripke's argument and Levine's explanatory gap. Kripke's argument is overcome by providing an explanation for the felt contingency ofthe statement 'pain is C-fiber firing.' Levine's explanatory gap is defeated by clarifying the question "Why do C-fiber firings feel like pain?" and showing that asking this question is essentially inappropriate. Thus, the physicalist's inability to explain why C-fiber firings feel like pain is not a failing of physicalism. In the fourth part the physicalist theory of phenomenal experience is compared to some classic views of phenomenal experience from Rosenthal, Nagel, and Dennett.


Andrew Engen - Associate Professor of Philosophy

Department - Philosophy