Sewanee Senior Theses 2010


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 9
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    De-Nazification and De-Wagnerization: Hitler's Legacy at Wieland Wagner's Bayreuth
    (2010-05) Burkhalter, Matthew
    Richard Wagner is and will probably always be one of the most controversial figures of the nineteenth century. A composer of undeniable brilliance, his reputation in the twentieth century has been scarred by a perceived connection between the illustrious creator of Der Ring des Nibelungen and Adolf Hitler. What reinforces this commonly held idea of intellectual and artistic kinship between these two men? What was the extent of the relationship between Hitler and Wagner’s daughter-in-law, the English-born and strikingly anti-Semitic Winifred Wagner, a woman who idealized the National Socialist powerhouse yet kept the Bayreuth Festival free of Nazi interference? Both of these questions were answered—or, at least, valiantly addressed—by Winifred’s son, Wieland Wagner, whose iconic opera productions at Bayreuth from 1951 to the mid-1960s not only place him firmly among the geniuses of modern theatre but also at a crucial point in understanding the hazy Hitler-Wagner tangent as well as the extent of Wagner’s own oft-misunderstood anti-Semitism.
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    Things Fall Together: The Ascent of Chaos and the Obliteration of Meaning in Pope's 1743 Dunciad
    (2010-04-25) French, Corey
    This thesis examines Pope's 1743 Dunciad as a vision of serious moral decay couched in the imagery and language of the apocalyptic. It asserts a reading of the poem as an eschatalogical text in which the decline of taste emblematizes the decline of morality and in which chaos is finally ascendant, subsuming the possibility of meaning into the "deluge of authors [that] cover'd the land."
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    Method for Isolation and Characterization of Eastern red spotted newt cardiolipin: differences in cardiolipin species in winter and summer acclimatized animals
    (University of the South, 2010-05-05) Roberson, Sara
    The structure of the variety of phospholipids that make up cellular membranes allows for a great deal of control over cellular function because cellular membranes control compartmentalization and selective permeability, provide structure, and act as work benches for cellular functions.
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    Shakespeare's Silvae: Mapping Shakespeare's Dramatic Arboreal Landscape
    (2010-05-09) Robison, Hailey
    Much like Macbeth, Shakespeare was besieged by trees. His literary and theatrical fate was grafted with them. In Shakespeare’s Judeo-Christian background, a tree marked both the foundation of Man’s Fall and the beginning of His resurrection. He not only performed within the “wooden O†(H5 I.chorus.13 ) but also set many of his plays both in and on the outskirts of real and imagined forests – including Arden, Windsor, Birnan, and Athens. Allusively, physically, dramatically, and structurally, Shakespeare encloses his work and himself in trees. How, then, does this arboreal envelopment inform his dramatic corpus? Shakespeare uses trees, both individually and collectively, as shifting paradoxical images: they are a place of protection and danger, noise and silence, structure and collapse, and freedom and entrapment.
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    A Life-Affirming Method for Truth: Nietzsche and Wittgenstein on Truth, Dogmatism, and Relativism
    (2010-05) Bostwick, Will
    Throughout his work, and especially in his later work of Beyond Good and Evil and On the Genealogy of Morality, Nietzsche is preoccupied with the notion of truth, and the problematic philosophical truth claims of the past. In his later work Wittgenstein explores the notion of language-games and how they serve as a mechanism for asserting and assessing knowledge in truth claims. In this paper I argue that Wittgenstein’s grammatical method of contexts and rule-following provides a solution to the problem of truth that Nietzsche was never able to resolve, but illustrates vividly, especially in the final sections of GMIII. I have divided my argument into four main sections: the first regards a debate over Nietzsche’s account of truth, the second is my interpretation of Nietzsche’s illustration of the truth problem, the third regards Wittgenstein’s account of truth and his method as a solution to the problem, and the fourth addresses possible fundamental inconsistencies in their philosophies. In the first section I lay out a detailed debate between two Nietzsche scholars: Maudmarie Clark and Alexander Nehamas. I consider their distinct accounts of truth and dogmatism in Nietzsche’s philosophy and conclude that each of them offers a helpful but incomplete analysis of Nietzsche’s position. Both articulate in different way a central issue in the paper – the conflict between dogmatic truth claims and the rejection of the metaphysical or Platonic notion of the thing-in-itself. In the second section, I go on to show that Clark and Nehamas’ failing may have been in trying to construct and defend a totally complete account in Nietzsche. I argue that Nietzsche never offered a fully developed account of truth, but rather that he offered criticisms of traditional philosophical truth claims, and hoped to initiate a reassessment of the value of truth in contemporary philosophy. In the third section I argue that Wittgenstein provides a coherent and defensible account of truth and that his account satisfies the basic demands in Nietzsche’s account of the problem. I argue that Wittgenstein’s method, composed of language-games and grammatical rule following, amounts to the limited notion of truth that Nietzsche had in mind, and that his method is ultimately quite tenable. In the fourth section I consider the objection that Wittgenstein’s method entails a sort of relativism that Nietzsche clearly denies. This follows from Clark’s inability to determine how to resolve the issue of competing perspectives and Nietzsche’s various assertions that he does not think that truth is relative to the individual. I argue that the criticism recognizes an under-development in Nietzsche’s philosophy. Ultimately, I conclude that, while Nietzsche did not foresee all of the changes Wittgenstein’s method would make to traditional philosophical truth claims, Wittgenstein’s method does, in the end, provide a solution to the basic components of Nietzsche’s illustration of the problem.