Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Eldon J. Coffman

Committee Members

Kristina Gehrman, Adam Cureton


This master’s thesis is a portfolio of essays that were submitted to the philosophy department of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in order to complete the competency requirements of the PhD program. This portfolio contains three essays that fall under each of the three broad divisions that are typically used to categorize the disparate areas of discourse that philosophy encompasses: ELMS, value theory, and the history of philosophy. In “Defending Practical Attitude Intellectualism”, I reconstruct an attempt by Yuri Cath to put forward an analysis of practical knowledge which synthesizes elements from two competing analyses of practical knowledge. Next, I offer a defense for this attempt against an objection that Cath had previously considered as well as a novel objection. In “Our Duties to the Disabled”, I present a problem that often arises when we consider the question of who should accept moral responsibility for meeting the needs of a disabled person under non-ideal circumstances, which is identifying who should accept responsibility for meeting the needs of a disabled person when a party that was presumed to be responsible fails to meet those needs. I proceed to construct a schema that addresses this problem and demonstrate how this schema can be used to address the kind of real cases that I pointed out. In “Three Interpretations of Hume’s Self”, I explain why determining the best interpretation of Hume’s theory of personal identity is a difficult problem, and then I offer a novel attempt to argue in favor of one interpretation. I present three competing interpretations of Hume’s theory of personal identity from Ainslie and Ware, Ruth Boeker, and Lilli Alanen, and I compare each of these interpretations according to how compatible they are with Hume’s theory of practical reason, which draws upon his theory of personal identity. I use this comparative analysis to argue in favor of the interpretation advanced by Alanen because is the most compatible with Hume’s theory of personal identity.

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