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Recent Submissions

To Discover, Communicate, and Defend the Truth: A Thomistic Response to the New Natural Law Theorists
(2024-07) Berquist, James Norman
My thesis is twofold. (a) The foundation of every properly human act is the inclination to the fullness of truth, and (b) all morality is rooted in the common goodness of the fullness of truth. This dissertation proceeds along two interwoven threads. The first is the critique of the NNL theorists’ central positions. The second is the development of a more Thomistic account of the foundations of human action with reference to the critique of the NNL theorists’ four central positions. Chapters 1-2 critique the NNL theorists’ position on the incommensurability of the basic goods. Chapters 3-4 critique their account of the ultimate end. Chapter 5 reformulates the NNL theorists’ doctrine on the ultimate end in light of a deeper consideration of happiness. Chapter 6 critiques the NNL theorists’ view on how the first precept directs human action. Chapter 7 addresses the NNL position on the first principles of morality. Simultaneously, Chapters 1-2 show that there is indeed a hierarchy of goods and proposes Thomas’s position that happiness with God is the good of the first precept, though this is only vaguely understood. Chapters 3-4 show that God Himself must be the final object of the human will, and all desire must be rooted in the desire for God. Chapter 5 follows Thomas’s proposal that the contemplation of God is the ultimate end, and that this is the good of the whole man. Chapter 6 argues that the inclination to the fullness of truth is the ground of human agency. Thus, God is the good of the first precept of practical reason, but He is inclined to as the fullness of truth, and this good is the ground of all human agency. Chapter 7 completes this thread, showing how the inclination to the fullness of truth instantiates a moral precept.
Longing to Belong: the Literary Evolution of the Bastard Character Archetype from Shakespeare to Byron
(2024-05) Williams, Elise A. M.
Exploring the connections between Shakespeare’s Bastard Character archetype and the Byronic Hero, this paper argues that there are similarities between the two which have not been adequately considered before. Beginning with the archetype’s origins in the Vice character of Medieval Morality Plays, the Bastard Character evolved in light of socio-political pressures of the English Renaissance. In Shakespeare’s theater, it traces the Bastard Character’s development over three plays to show the fundamental problem facing the character, that is the longing to belong in a society unwilling to accept them. Moving into the Romantic period, the origins of the Byronic Hero are considered in order to show how what has been assumed to be Byron’s literary self-insert character is indebted to the archetype established by Shakespeare. By recognizing the differences between their portrayals of this character type, the study reveals how Byron reduces the Bastard Character’s crisis from the political sphere to the personal, and the difficulties which emerge from his hero’s choices. Finally, the essay concludes with a few thoughts about the implications of this archetype’s journey, and its prevailing popularity in literature and other media today.
Poetry as Historiography: The History of Stasis and Political Change in the Theognidea
(2023-08) Cantrell, Laird
In examining the history of the Archaic period of ancient Greece, one is hard pressed to find contemporary historical and historiographical accounts as can be found in later periods. However, archaic poetry is shown to be a possible place to look for historical information of the period. Of interest to this paper, Theognis' Theognidea appears to hold critical historical information of the stasis and political change of Archaic Megara. In this, I will be examining the extent to which Theognis' Theognidea can be used as a historiography for the political change occurring in the Archaic age, specifically that of the sixth century BCE. I will carry this out by looking at the history of the time as it is presented in the Theognidea, considering and examining the change from muthos to logos as it pertains to the words of the poet and the potential history to be found in them , the ways in which Theognis' background and the history of the circumstances surrounding his writing influence his writing, and with comparing the Theognidea to other later historical accounts of that time period, to other poets as historiography pertains to their poems, and to other works of historiography.
"Stone Hearts Will Bleed" : George Herbert's Depiction of Sanctification Through the Metaphor of the Stony Heart in THE TEMPLE
(2023-08) Kleinhenz, Emily
Much of criticism on George Herbert’s Temple has focused on categorizing the Anglican priest-poet in a denomination of faith; however, Herbert’s theology, although it naturally saturates his poetic works, cannot be easily defined as Anglo-Catholic, Reformed, or via media. A more fruitful approach in engaging the devotional poems of The Temple is to consider how Herbert, who is concerned with heart-felt devotion, poetically portrays the heart, the fallen nature of man, and the process of sanctification as well as the methods by which he guides the reader in the practice of true inward devotion. In my study, I will examine how Herbert uses the metaphor of the stony heart drawn from Ezekiel 36:26 in key poems of The Temple and of his Latin collections, Lucus and Passio Discerpta, in order to illuminate the Christian’s struggle with sin and grace and to urge readers out of a state of complacency and toward a course of action or contemplation: remorse and repentance for sin, prayer for help and relief, proper sacramental practice, and praise of God’s grace and favor. Herbert’s additions and alterations of the biblical metaphor provide notable insight on his views of the Christian life: namely, that sanctification is an ongoing and often strenuous process, involving both God and man. Herbert’s poems ultimately offer meaning to suffering and assures readers that their “spiritual Conflicts” between them and God, when properly addressed, are integral to the practice of sincere devotion and lead them to a state of “perfect freedom.”
Sticks and Stones, When Words Do Hurt: The Impact of Responses, Involvement, and Partisan Identity on Brand Image in the Case of Negative Political Advertising
(2023-09) North-Gould, Leslie
Political advertising is an important tool used by campaigns to persuade voters to choose their candidate at the polls. Despite mixed results regarding its effectiveness, negative political advertising is the prominent choice of many campaigns and is on the rise. Given the prevalence and potential damage of negative advertising, it is crucial that we understand how certain types of advertising, especially negative and response advertising, affect voters’ perceptions of a candidate’s brand image. With a factorial experiment design, this study examined how candidates should respond when they become the target of negative political advertising by examining what type of response advertising is most effective at mitigating the damage done by negative advertising, as well as the impact that a voter’s political involvement and partisan identity has on this relationship. Results suggest that a civil response advertisement is more effective than an uncivil response. Furthermore, while involvement did not moderate the relationship between the different types of advertising and brand image, this study finds that partisan identity does. This study adds to the research by examining voting behavior through a consumer behavior lens, borrowing marketing concepts such as involvement. Practical implications include understanding how candidates can improve their brand image in the face of negative advertising in a way that will assist campaigns in choosing the most effective advertising strategy.