Class Year

2016

Date

4-12-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department or Program

Philosophy

Second Department or Program

Neuroscience

First Advisor

Louis G. Lombardi

Second Advisor

Anne E. Houde

Third Advisor

Robert Chad McCracken

Fourth Advisor

Susan M. Long

Abstract

Moral theories proposed by Immanuel Kant and Alan Gewirth argue that the ability to reason can demarcate who is granted moral worth. Social groups such as women, non-white peoples, queer and trans people, and essentially those who are not considered mentally or physically ‘normal’ have been marginalized through naturalistic arguments of intellectual inferiority rooted in biology. Michel Foucault argues that oppressive systems form through a genealogical socio-historical process that posits one identity as superior, and the other as inferior. I will use a similar Foucauldian historicist framework to argue that the neurosciences are susceptible to this naturalistic fallacy, and thus can perpetuate the marginalization of people.


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