- ItemOpen AccessAdaptive disembodiment: towards an enactivist theory of body schematic sensorimotor autonomy(Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) White, Halie Elizabeth, author; MacKenzie, Matthew, advisor; Rice, Collin, committee member; Snodgrass, Jeffrey, committee memberThe enactivist approach to embodied cognition relies on a non-reductive biological naturalism that is recursive at higher levels of complexity in living systems. In addressing an account of cognition, I will consider Xabier Barandiaran's objection that biological autonomy properly sets biological norms but under-specifies sensorimotor normativity. Barandiaran suggests the implementation of pluralist autonomy to the meta-pattern of organization in the enactivist agent that becomes recapitulated. By forming an account of sensorimotor autonomy, we can then specify normativity at the sensorimotor (cognitive) level. In consideration of this issue, I will propose the body schema functions to provide sensorimotor autonomy to the embodied subject through motor stability and thus functions to specify normativity at the sensorimotor level. This then allows for what enactivists term 'sense-making' in terms of enacting affordance structures. The position I take within the enactivist frame is thus a pluralist autonomist view on cognition. I go on to consider how this view bears on cognitive case studies often addressed in body schema literature. Drawing primarily from the work of Shaun Gallagher, body schema interacts with and develops body image through primary and secondary intersubjective capacities. I argue that body image is intersubjectively constructed through joint attention, thus invoking considerations of one's social milieu. This consideration shifts the discussion to address how the pluralist autonomist enactivist, through body schema and body image interaction, can account for alterations of the body schema due to distortions in one's body image that result from oppression. This pluralist autonomist enactivist theory provides three benefits for understanding these alterations: (1) enactivism begins with a fundamental postulate that individuals are embedded in a world; (2) in distinguishing between different levels of autonomy, we can thus discuss different forms of normative interaction with the environment; (3) and finally, with differentiated forms of normativity, we can thus differentiate and track different modes of adaptation an embodied subject can take when faced with various sorts of perturbations. I argue that disembodiment can be seen as an adaptation of the body schema in relation to hostile environments where stigma targets the body image. This hostile environment does not allow one's comfortable and normative navigation of the world due to the hypervisibility of the body. I explore this case of adaptive disembodiment through fatphobia and public weight stigma.
- ItemOpen AccessEpistemic citizenship: a new defense of role-based epistemic normativity(Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Kirchner, John J. S., author; Kasser, Jeff, advisor; Tropman, Elizabeth, committee member; MacDonald, Bradley, committee memberOne problem facing epistemic deontology is its (apparent) incompatibility with doxastic involuntarism. Intuitively, deontic epistemic evaluations—e.g., blame or reproach for unjustified belief—seem unbefitting if we can't control that which we believe. However, Richard Feldman proposes a solve to this seeming incompatibility, which is a role-based approach to epistemic normativity. When we find ourselves within certain roles, the normativity of performing within one's role appropriately, as one ought, can generate obligations, permissions, duties, etc. If we can rightly conceive of a "believer role," then we can have coherent deontological normativity, even if we, in fact, lack control over our doxastic attitudes. However, Matthew Chrisman advances strong criticisms of the role-based approach, criticisms which I will argue ultimately fail. In response to Chrisman, I will argue that our doxastic role as a believer is akin to our role as political citizens. The upshot of the project will be a revitalized defense of role-based epistemic deontology, and a more apt analogy, i.e., that of epistemic citizen. Chrisman's assertions of the role-based approach's inherent explanatory insufficiencies will be shown to be unfounded once role-normativity itself is understood more precisely.
- ItemOpen AccessAre subjectivists and objectivists about well-being theorizing about the same concept?(Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Harris, Blake, author; McShane, Katie, advisor; Tropman, Elizabeth, committee member; Steger, Michael, committee memberThere are two main camps that theories of well-being fall under: "subjectivism" and "objectivism". Subjectivists hold that something can only positively affect one's well-being if one has a positive attitude toward it. Objectivists deny this and hold that some things can positively affect one's well-being irrespective of whether one has a positive attitude towards them and can even do so if one has a negative attitude towards them. Both views seem appealing and many theorists in the well-being debate attempt to capture the appeal of both views in the theories they posit. Despite this, only one can be correct; they contradict each other. Yet, neither seems satisfactory on its own since, as I argue, they fail to account for the motivations of the other. Hence, we are left with an impasse between the two that is difficult to resolve. In this thesis, I summarize the main theories of well-being and their objections in chapter one and introduce the distinction between subjectivism and objectivism and the motivations behind each. In chapter two, I summarize several theories that try to account for the motivations of both subjectivism and objectivism, with particular emphasis on "hybrid" theories, and show that they fail at their task. I finish in chapter three by motivating the impasse between subjectivism and objectivism and outlining four possible ways of resolving the impasse. I argue that three of these fail, but that the remaining way is promising. This way holds that subjectivists and objectivists are actually theorizing about two different, but similar concepts.
- ItemOpen AccessA defense of emotions in evolutionary epistemology(Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Van, Minh-Tu, author; Rice, Collin, advisor; Kasser, Jeffrey, committee member; Snodgrass, Jeffrey, committee memberCurrent literature in evolutionary epistemology places a kind of epistemic 'rationality', guided by evolution, as the primary consideration or rationale that directs whether and how we acquire knowledge. Foundational works by the likes of Donald Campbell, Konrad Lorenz, and Sir Karl Popper paved the grounds of evolutionary epistemology by prioritizing natural selection's role within theories of knowledge. By recognizing and understanding the significance of humans' niche within the biological world, it better informs us of the aims of evolutionary epistemology. My thesis aims to incorporate emotions in the understanding and development of evolutionary epistemology. My arguments stem from the idea that emotions are an innate and biological response that have an epistemically significant evolutionary history while also concurrently conferring epistemic advantages. With much of the current discussion focused on evolutionary 'rationality' sans emotion, there is much left to be desired in evolutionary epistemology: I believe evolutionary epistemology is missing an evaluation and incorporation of our emotional systems that shape and influence epistemic aims. While evolutionary epistemologists allude to emotions' significance and relevance through other causal mechanisms, there is little discussion of how emotions explicitly affect and interact with our epistemic processes. The overall aim of my thesis is to stress the epistemic contribution that emotions would have to the current developments within evolutionary epistemology and its fittingness within the scope of evolutionary epistemology's aims as currently construed. I first summarize evolutionary epistemology using the works of Campbell, Lorenz, and Popper and explicate what evolutionary 'rationality' entails. Then, I explore some epistemic roles emotions play within important features extrapolated from an evolutionary 'rationality': epistemic fallibility and epistemic creativity. I argue that evolutionary epistemology benefits from an investigation and application of emotions to these features because their role reinforces the same aims that evolutionary epistemology strive to achieve. To wrap things up, I lay out implications and future directions of accepting my defense. I ultimately contend that a more serious consideration of emotions within evolutionary epistemology would only elucidate a fuller comprehension of our naturalized knowledge; not only will we learn more about what human knowledge is construed as, but we will also learn more about how the construction of knowledge, for and by evolved humans, ought to be produced.
- ItemOpen AccessNin gii nisaa a'aw waawaashkeshii: engaging animal rights theory with Ojibwe and Cree theories of hunting ethics(Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Persinger, Corinne, author; McShane, Katie, advisor; Shockley, Kenneth, advisor; Schneider, Lindsey, committee memberIn this thesis, I call on animal ethicists working in Western traditions to reflect on deeply held assumptions, prejudices, and colonial histories that continue to marginalize not only Indigenous hunting practices, but the very theories that defend their ethical justification. Such reflection is necessary for genuine engagement to take place between Western theories and Indigenous theories of hunting ethics. This thesis can be understood as part of a larger project to clear the way for critical conversation between these different traditions. However, the scope of the thesis is limited to a particular Western theory, that is animal rights theory, and a particular version of Indigenous hunting ethics, based in reciprocity and contextualized by the hunting practices of Ojibwe and Cree cultural groups. I argue that animal rights theorists must engage with Indigenous theories of hunting ethics as a matter of moral and epistemic responsibility. This thesis contains three chapters. In the first chapter, I will motivate the claim that the persistent ignorance to Indigenous ethical theories by Western theorists—and animal rights theorists in particular–is a form of epistemic injustice. I argue that engagement with Indigenous theories by animal rights theorists is a necessary step for overcoming this injustice. In the following chapters, I attempt to motivate the theoretical importance of overcoming the injustice. In the second chapter, I offer an account of animal rights theory that emphasizes possible points of overlap with Indigenous theories. In this account, I argue that animal rights theory requires the addition of relational accounts of animal ethics to be tenable. Relational accounts leave open two substantive theoretical questions that I will take up in chapter three: first, whether relational context matters for our negative obligations; and second, the extent to which animals possess agency and power in their relationships with humans. Ojibwe and Cree hunting ethics, based in a theory of reciprocity, also center relational context for determining our obligations to animals. However, these theories respond to these open questions differently than their Western counterparts. I argue that the difference in how these theories respond to these questions illustrates why they come out so differently in their evaluation of the moral character of hunting. Western and Indigenous ethical theories appeal to quite different conceptual frameworks to assess ethical behavior within hunting relationships. Integral ethical concepts like those of taking life, harm, intentionality, and power can be understood differently when a theory of reciprocity is used to define human-animal relations, instead of the relational theories of their Western counterparts. As a result, the kinds of obligations associated with the act of taking life are different on Indigenous theories. I take these different understandings of ethically significant concepts to be at the heart of the disagreement between animal rights theory and Ojibwe and Cree theories of hunting ethics regarding the moral character of hunting. The ignorance of Western theorists to Indigenous conceptual frameworks allows them to downplay the theoretical significance of this disagreement. These theorists have an ethical and epistemic responsibility to address this ignorance.