The Magic of Realism: An Exploration of the Technique Behind Magical Realism

ABSTRACT: For my research I hope to explore and further understand the artistic genre of magic realism. This is a genre of art that expresses a primarily realistic view of the world while also incorporating magical and dreamlike elements. Specifically, I want to discover a technique that produces the most successful magic realism oil painting in terms of composition, craftsmanship and creativity. I will test the effects of painting from life while incorporating fictional elements from my imagination versus painting a scene completely from my memory and imagination. I would like to find the perfect world that exists between dreams and reality.

Abstract: An Evolutionary Objection to Ethical Objectivism

The idea that there is right and wrong is incredibly intuitive. Charity is right. Slavery is wrong. But if right and wrong exist what does this entail and how do we know what if something is right? If morality exists it must be an objective morality. The right action in a specific scenario cannot be right for one person and not right for another. Another requisite of morality is categorical action guiding power. To do what is right you may have to act against your desires, thus morality must be able to motivate  independently of desire. We cling to the idea of morality because if morality didn’t exist then. Surely, without morality there would be no reason for people not to just kill each other on sight or lie without a care.

However, we cannot accept morality exists simply because we fear a world without it. Like everything else we believe exists we must have reasoning beyond intuition. There is no positive reason why morality exists. In fact, many moral actions can be explained by evolution. Research in affective and cognitive neuroscience has show that “moral” instincts have evolved overtime. This summer, I plan to read and analyze studies and articles on the evolution of moral behavior. 

Beyond scientific research, there is significant philosophical evidence against morality. J.L. Mackie argues that the idea of motivation independent of desires is too weird to fathom. In addition to my scientific research, I will research philosophical objections to ethical objectivism and find the intersection of this research and the scientific research I have accumulated.

A Literature Review on Identity, Humor, and Offense: Exploring and Understanding Cards Against Humanity

ABSTRACT: I plan to explore how various aspects of one’s identity–e.g. age, gender, sexuality, race, etc–inform and influence one’s sense of humor as well as one’s sensibility. More specifically, I will conduct a literature review wherein I compile the most relevant scholarly work across several fields on the subject–including humor studies, psychology, and sociology. Finally, I will use the popular party game Cards Against Humanity (CAH) as a connecting focal point for my research. Cards Against Humanity, i.e. “a party game for horrible people”, asks players to choose the funniest punchline from a set of cards to complete a given setup or prompt–the result is oftentimes a dirty, dark, or satirical joke. As players confront controversial cards, they are forced to decide what is funny and what is simply offensive. Subsequently, each player must define their sense of humor, their sensibility, and their identity amidst a social group. At the same time, players must be mindful of the particular humors, sensibilities, and identities of others in the group. For that reason, CAH is an excellent medium through which to research the interplay of these three factors. This piece of research is an essential first step in moving towards an understanding of the fascinating social phenomenon that is Cards Against Humanity.

Defining Modern Terrorism and Resisting Stereotypes

Due to recent incidents, the word “terrorism” has been plastered on countless headlines and news articles, regardless if the subsequent story fits the actual definition of the abhorrent crime.  In order for a crime to truly be terroristic in intent, it must be politically motivated.  Many of the terrible, heart-breaking mass shootings that have been so prevalent in recent events cannot be considered terrorism, despite being falsely identified as such in everything from news sources to Twitter posts.  Throughout this research, a case by case examination will be given, analyzing these crimes and discussing whether or not they can be categorized as terrorism.  It is essential for the general public to become more educated on this topic, as terrorist organizations tend to claim these acts in the name of fear-mongering – they are able to maintain a greater presence in the United States by taking ownership of mass shootings, bombings, etc.  Furthermore, it is important for people to understand that, although much of terrorism is deemed “Islamic terrorism,” it is not in any way a representation of true Islamic values.