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McNair Scholars Program

Daniel Kirksey, J.D.

He/him

Education: Bachelor of Arts in English and philosophy (December 2008)

Juris Doctor from Washburn University

McNair Project: The Problem of Free Will (2007)

Mentor: Marcelo Sabatés, Ph.D.

After careful evaluation, one will find that the assumption of having free will cannot be easily made. “Free will” is characterized with minimal controversy as a specific capacity of a rational being to choose among diverse alternative actions. However, with considerably increasing controversy, most feel intuitively compelled toward the reality of a metaphysical assumption that our universe is regulated by causation and natural laws. This alluring assumption produces a tension when placed vis-à-vis the need to define the aforementioned “specific capacity.” The endeavor to reconcile this tension effects three main views to be discussed. My conclusions are stimulating and perhaps unsettling.

McNair Project: Two Approaches to Unrestricted Quantification (2008)

Mentor: Douglas Patterson, Ph.D.

My purpose in this paper is to outline two approaches to problems encountered by attempts at unrestricted quantification. In order to do this I will utilize work from Richard Cartwright in defense of unrestricted quantification, and work from Michael Glanzberg in its opposition. Richard Cartwright is a generality absolutist and his view provides an example of a common approach taken by many contemporary philosophers in their defense of the intelligibility of unrestricted quantification. Michael Glanzberg holds the opposite view of Cartwright in his position as a generality relativist, which at its heart is a denial of the intelligibility of unrestricted quantification. His claim is that “there is a particular sense in which, as a matter of semantics, quantifiers always range over domains that are in principle extensible, and so cannot count as really being ‘absolutely everything’.”