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.

Hollywood and the Holocaust: The Influence of Jewish Filmmakers in World War 2

The film industry exerts an enormous influence over us. Movies have the potential to greatly influence how we view issues, whether or not we sympathize with others, and what we do about problems. In the 1930s and 1940s, as America rested on the brink of World War 2, Hollywood had the opportunity to influence national sentiment towards the war. Given that many of the studio owners were Jewish, the industry likely had a different perspective than those in the government who turned away refugees and ignored information about the Holocaust.

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Depictions of Sexuality in Video Games: Still Constrained by History? – Abstract

It is undeniable that the video game industry has exploded in the past few decades, and they have certainly come far from their original purpose of simple entertainment.  Video games today are used for general education, exploring social issues, bonding with friends, and even experiencing new lives within fantasy universes. Inevitably, the implementation of sexuality into video games has effected vast new ways of experiencing video games. Especially intriguing is focusing in on the representation of LGBTQ characters and sexualities in video games. While there has been much scholarship on just their representation in video games, they are not linked into a comprehensive history of sexuality. This is where my project comes in.

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