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Practicing Relevance: The Origins, Practices, and Future of Applied Philosophy

Description: This dissertation takes up the question of the social function of philosophy. Popular accounts of the nature and value of philosophy reinforce long-standing perceptions that philosophy is useless or irrelevant to pressing societal problems. Yet, the increasingly neoliberal political-economic environment of higher education places a premium on mechanisms that link public funding for research to demonstrations of return on investment in the form of benefitting broader society. This institutional situation presents a philosophical problem warranting professional attention. This project offers a diagnosis of the problem and develops a way forward from it. Drawing from Foucauldian archaeological methods, my analysis focuses on the interplay of institutional structures and intellectual practices. Since the early 20th century, departments of philosophy on college and university campuses have been the center of gravity for professional philosophy in the US. Establishing this institutional ‘home' for philosophers drove the adoption of disciplinary practices, norms, and standards for inquiry. But the metaphilosophical assumptions underpinning disciplinarity have become problematic, I argue: they are poor guides for navigating the situation of higher education in the 21st century. Several movements within the profession of philosophy during the 1960s and 70s sought to reverse philosophers' general retreat from public affairs. Applied philosophy, environmental philosophy, and bioethics each offer a case study in attempts to address the problem of societal relevance. However, surveys of the journal literature in each field uncovered few reflections on whether or not individual projects, or the field as a whole, had any impact on the societal problems to which those philosophers turned their attention. This suggests a need for further thinking about implementation – how to institutionalize alternative practices of philosophy that do demonstrate societal relevance. By way of conclusion, I offer some of the necessary groundwork toward a philosophy of implementation, in the form of discussing significant ...
Date: May 2017
Creator: Barr, Kelli Ray
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Comparison of the Educational Philosophies of Pragmatism and Essentialism and their Effects on Education

Description: The purpose of this study was to make an appraisal of the educational philosophies, pragmatism and essentialism, and their effects upon the aims, methods, and curriculum of education. No effective effort was made to branch off into the many philosophical ramifications of the question, but the practical aspects of each philosophy were studied in order to determine how it has influenced education.
Date: 1942
Creator: Womack, Vera
Partner: UNT Libraries

Environmental Philosophy and the Ethics of Terraforming Mars: Adding the Voices of Environmental Justice and Ecofeminism to the Ongoing Debate

Description: Questions concerning the ethics of terraforming Mars have received some attention from both philosophers and scientists during recent decades. A variety of theoretical approaches have been supplied by a number of authors, however research pursuant to this thesis has indicated at least two major blindspots in the published literature on the topic. First, a broad category of human considerations involving risks, dangers, and social, political, and economic inequalities that would likely be associated with efforts to terraform Mars have been woefully overlooked in the published literature to date. I attempt to rectify that oversight by employing the interpretive lens of environmental justice to address questions of environmental colonialism, equality in terms of political participation and inclusion in decision making structures, risks associated with technological progressivism, and responses to anthropogenic climate change. Only by including the historically marginalized and politically disenfranchised "voices," of both humans and nonhumans, can any future plan to terraform Mars be deemed ethical, moral or just according to the framework provided by environmental justice. Furthermore, broader political inclusion of this sort conforms to what ecofeminist author Val Plumwood calls the "intentional recognition stance" and provides an avenue through which globally societies can include nonanthropocentric considerations in decision making frameworks both for questions of terraforming Mars and also for a more local, contemporary set of environmental issues. The second blindspot I seek to correct concerns motivations for attempting terraforming on Mars previously inadequately philosophically elaborated in the published discourse. Specifically, the nonanthropocentric considerations postulated in the second chapter by various authors writing about terraforming, and elaborated in third with regard to environmental justice, reach their culmination in an ecofeminist ethic of care, sustainability, reproduction, and healthy growth which I uniquely elaborate based on a metaphorical similarity to the relationship between a gardener and a garden. Although at first ...
Date: August 2013
Creator: French, Robert Heath
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Short Stories of Franz Kafka: Literature-Philosophy

Description: This examination of Kafka as philosopher will not concentrate on the selection of the "correct" approach to his work, but on his description of reality from all levels of approach. Socially, spiritually, psychologically, Kafka speaks not only as an artist, but also as a philosopher, who sees all levels of a man's existence as a part of reality. The definition of Kafka's prose as literature-philosophy will be based chiefly on an examination of his shorter fiction.
Date: May 1969
Creator: Stan, Virgene Rae
Partner: UNT Libraries

Hawthorne's Philosophy of Art

Description: One facet of Hawthorne's thinking, his ideas on art, has remained relatively unexplored by critical writers. Whereas the presentation of such concepts does not appear to have been Hawthorne's chief concern, his frequent comments upon the nature and elements of art, as well as his expressed views on specific art objects and the artists who produce them, may well lead the reader to believe that Hawthorne possessed much more than a casual interest in the subject and that, indeed, he arrived at his own conception of a "philosophy of art." It will be the purpose of this paper to explore the ideas which make up this philosophy.
Date: August 1967
Creator: Dunson, Darwin C.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Evolution of Educational Philosophy Underlying the Modern Program of Industrial Arts with Particular Emphasis upon the Contributions of John Locke

Description: This thesis is a study of the evolution of educational philosophy underlying the modern program of industrial arts with particular emphasis upon the contributions of John Locke. The problem is limited to the study of the philosophy and theories of Locke with a brief coverage of Greek, [mediaeval], and modern periods of philosophy. It is impossible to cover in detail all the works of the three historical periods. Only the important general aspects which have a direct bearing on Locke and his influence upon industrial arts are discussed in detail in this study.
Date: August 1955
Creator: Backs, Norman E.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Nihilism and the Formulation of a Philosophy of Art

Description: Nihilism is often associated with feelings of despair, hopelessness and meaningless. It is certainly true that once the implications of this philosophy become apparent that these feelings are valid. However, this reaction is merely the first stage of dealing with nihilism and stopping here fails to examine the various types of nihilism that deal specifically with knowledge, ethics, metaphysics, truth, and art. Nihilism at its base is a philosophy that recognizes the history of human thought and what it means to be and to think. My focus is the way in which a completed nihilism is in fact an emancipatory act and the implications it has for art and the artist in the 21st century.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Hernandez, Brian
Partner: UNT Libraries

A philosophical perspective of art

Description: The underlying problem of the thesis is elucidating the relationship between the art object and philosophy. The thesis is organized into an introduction and four chapters. The introduction poses the need for a philosophical approach to the art object, and the phenomological method is briefly described. The first chapter defines and describes two basic structures found in the art object. The second chapter probes into the ontological structure of the art object in terms of form and media. The third chapter focuses on the relation of form and media evident in personal art works. The fourth chapter summarizes the content of preceding chapters and describes the relationship between the art object and the phenomological method, and discusses the significance of this relationship to philosophy and mankind.
Date: May 1977
Creator: Hopp, Larry F.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Pragmatism in the Modern School

Description: This study proposes to (1) set forth, in a brief way, the gradual evolution of pragmatism from about 1905 down to the present, (2) to clearly define pragmatism and to differentiate between it and some other "isms" having philosophical significance, (3) and to show how pragmatism has made for itself a place in the modern school curriculum.
Date: 1940
Creator: Wallace, Audie Price
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Instrument to Determine whether Certain Fundamental Philosophical and Educational Beliefs Are Held by Selected Public School Teachers in the Areas of Elementary Education, Secondary Education, and Guidance

Description: The problem of this study was to develop an instrument which would reveal whether certain fundamental philosophical and educational beliefs are held by public school teachers in the areas of elementary education, secondary education, and guidance.
Date: January 1968
Creator: Thomas, Neil Eugene
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Study of the Modern Philosophy and Modern Psychology of Education

Description: The purpose of this study is three-fold: 1. To make a study of modern philosophy and modern psychology of education. 2. To show by comparison how well the Gainesville elementary schools comply in a modern philosophy and a modern psychology of education. 3. To make recommendations for changes that could be made for the improvement of the Gainesville elementary school system.
Date: 1947
Creator: Clements, Bess
Partner: UNT Libraries