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“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent”

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Kant and the Unity of Self-Consciousness

Yuxuan Ma

St. John's College, 2021

Junior Essay Prize

This essay attempts to illustrate Kantian thinking through multiple aspects (mediative synthesis, the non-identification with concepts, time and space, purposiveness), in order to show how Kant's concept of the unity of apperception, fundamental to these aspects of his thinking, plays a central role in the freedom we exercise in both theoretical and practical/moral judgment.

Vividness & 'I'

Samuel Harder

St. John's College, 2019

An investigation of the origin and notion of self in David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature.

A Gesture Towards a New Plato

Weiouqing Chen

St. John's College, 2019

In this essay, I try to analyze some of the most metaphysical moments of the Theaetetus and the Sophist to show that the metaphysical content of these parts are repetitive and do not stand up to close scrutiny. But these observations in themselves do not diminish the value of the dialogues. Instead, I think they point to the possibility of a new interpretation of Plato, which I gesture toward at the end of the essay very briefly.

Pursuits of Wholeness

Ellie Gold Laabs

St. John's College, 2019

An exploration the nature of wholeness according to Aristophanes' myth in Plato's Symposium. In particular, this essay is concerned with how the loss of such wholeness might be remedied through ἔρως and through the act of storytelling.

On Death

Xin Ye

St. John's College, 2018

This essay aims to follow the thought process of Montaigne in his essay "That to philosophize is to learn how to die", in order to explore how the various philosophical ideas he discusses (virtue, pleasure, pain, freedom, imagination, living, nature) are related to death. In light of this consideration, I reflect on how the contemplation of death throws new light on these philosophical concepts.

Mapping the Island of Truth

Damon Kutzin

St. John's College, 2019

Junior Essay Prize

An investigation into the possibility of metaphysics in light of Hume's skepticism, through the example of Kant's attempt to deduce the law of cause and effect.

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