Inter-Disciplinary Learning Opportunities in the Brackenridge Community

A common deficiency in Ideal theory is an author’s failure to view a problem outside the conceptual framework that they have chosen. This problem is especially prevalent in Justice theory because many theorists have attempted to ground their arguments in absolute, transcendental, metaphysical, theological, etc., truth. One of my personal goals in researching and writing justice theory is challenging the traditional forms in which justice is understood and place justice ore in the realm of the real. If I only consider my own experience and conceptual framework, however, I am likely to fall into the same mindset of assumed objectivity that I’m trying to challenge. One of the aspects of the Brackenridge Fellowship that interested me was that I would encounter a wide variety of academic perspectives. I am hoping that the approaches to research other people are taking will allow them to see what is lacking in my research and help me more fully understand the problems I am addressing.

The primary difference I have seen between my project and other peoples’ is that my focus is more exploratory and open ended rather than being focused on a specific question. I think that this difference is due to our different interests and the different research requirements for each discipline. That difference is important though, because it will provide us with a broader understanding of the topics we chose to research. Difference is beneficial at its core because of the knowledge we gain, but there are drawbacks. I am mainly worried about the difficulty of communicating complex or very specific ideas that rely on a discipline’s inaccessible vocabulary, especially during the limited time we have on Zoom. Over-specificity and pedantry may be a bigger issue in philosophy than in other subjects, but I think that there is a difficulty in presenting information in a way that anyone can understand. Overcoming this difficulty is part of the reason for the Brackenridge Fellowship and it will likely be difficult for a while.

The people whose projects that most stood out to me are Linh Huynh, Julia Kreutzer, Eric Workman, and Emily Wiley. I am very interested in Linh’s project because it seems to me that she is approaching statistical analyses in the medical field from a sociological perspective to better understand why the data is what it is. The impact that science and the philosophy of science have on epistemology, ontology, and teleology is enormous, and the work that Linh is doing on the socioeconomic factors relating to individuals’ access to adequate health care is especially relevant to my interest in justice theory. Likewise, Julia’s and Emily’s projects, with their focus on how culture represents certain identities, provide an enormously important perspective on social philosophy outside of the traditional “academic” methods. Eric’s project follows a sort of traditional research methodology, but the form of combing quantitative and qualitative research methods is determined by a philosophical approach to understanding data and I am very interested to see what method he chooses. The results of his work are also of great interest to me because he has chosen to examine the effectiveness of propaganda which is of great import for theories of agency.

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