Philosophy & The Public Realm

his is the fifth volume in a unique series that combines the work of promising college students with essays by distinguished scholars. In “Whose Democracy? Which Rights?” Henry Rosemont, Jr. of St. Mary’s College conducts a probing critique of western values, modern philosophy, and social and political theory. Arguing that concepts like human rights, liberty, and individualism fail to capture what it is to be a human being, Professor Rosemont advocates a careful reconsideration of Classical Confucianism.

In “Pragmatism and the Future of Confucianism”Joanna Crosby of Morgan State University argues that life on the streets of China is more complex than many scholars care to acknowledge. In an intriguing twist in cross-cultural studies, Professor Crosby examines the possibility that American Pragmatism as well as Confucianism, both philosophies that emphasize practice over theory and actuality over metaphysics, can help heal the damage inflicted on Chinese culture by the Cultural Revolution.

The essays by Professors Rosemont and Crosby were delivered as keynote presentations at Oneonta’s Fifth Annual Undergraduate Philosophy Conference. Rounding out the volume are contributions from students at Belmont University, Binghamton University, East Tennessee State University, Macalester College, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Pennsylvania State University, St. Mary’s College, St. Vincent’s College, Suffolk University, SUNY Potsdam, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

President's Awards honor student presentations which most clearly exemplify the standards and ideals of the
conference. For 2000, these awards were presented to (alphabetic order):

Erin Cline (Belmont University)
Malinda Foster (University of Michigan)
Rachel Houchins (East Tennessee State University)
Michael Alan Payne (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Ninash Foundation East-West Awards honor student presentations that exhibit special expertise and insight in Asian and Comparative Philosophy. For 2000, these awards were presented to (alphabetic order):

Cynthia Budka (SUNY Oneonta)
Justin Maaia (Suffolk University)

To order a copy of this, or any OPS publication, please contact the Managing Editor at the address listed below or visit our friends at

Professor Parviz Morewedge
Global Publications, IGCS
Binghamton University
Binghamton, NY USA 13902-6000

Phone: (607) 777-4495 or 6104; Fax: (607) 777-6132


Student Preface

Freedom, Happiness, and The Human Condition

  • The Exhilarating Freedom! Hope in Existentialism
    1. Christine M. Cinquino
  • The Problem of Happiness in Nietzsche’s “Use and Abuse of History”
    1. Malinda Foster
  • Tradition and Modern Meaning: Society and Relative Truth
    1. Jason Baumgarth

Ethics: Theory and Practice

  • Ethical Theory Reconsidered: An Evaluation of the Ethics of Care
    1. Rachel Houchins
  • Proof of Paternal Rights in Abortion
    1. Michael Alan Payne
  • Political Noise and Vociferous Silence: Heidegger and Nazism
    1. Tamara Johnson

Language Games

  • Incommensurability, Normative Vices, and the Comparative Language Game:
    A Wittgensteinian Model for Comparative Philosophy
    1. Erin Cline
  • Wittgenstein and Naturalism
    1. Zachary Haines
  • The Mask Unmasked: The Role of Hypocrisy in the Dialectic of Thus Spoke Zarathustra
    1. John Kaag

Truth and Beauty

  • The Experience and Expression of Truth
    1. Justin C. Maaia
  • On the Event of Truth: A Discussion of Art, Truth and the Primal Conflict
    in Heidegger’s “The Origin of the Work Of Art”
    1. Iain Tucker Brown
  • Towards a Processean Aesthetics Within a Whiteheadian Metaphysics
    1. Scott M. Gleason

Keynote Addresses

  • Pragmatism and the Future of Confucianism in China
    1. Joanna Crosby
  • Whose Democracy? Which Rights? A Confucian Critique of Modern Western Liberalism
    1. Henry Rosemont, Jr.
    Conference Program
    Oneonta Philosophy Studies


In both the positive and pejorative sense, philosophy has been, perhaps, the most powerful impetus in my life thus far. My exploration began some three years ago when, as an eager although unsuspicious student, I read works whose titles carried the stamp of authors from whom I sought tutelage toward an avenue of personal growth (and with time and effort permitting, acceptance into their respective dialogic communities). Consequently, my induction into philosophical discourse, an attempt at Heidegger’s Being and Time, lured me, unwittingly and without active discretion, toward the total admission of his thought. Questioning the personal relevance of Heidegger’s ontological claims held a secondary stance with respect to the allure of his probing assessment of the self: a self which, although at first uncanny, I subsequently inwardly absorbed with full assurance. Heidegger thereupon became the solution, as I felt the need to establish a Weltanschauung, a world orientation.

Since the temptation of Heidegger’s disciplined thinking disclosed for me the proper path of my own personal expression, I submitted to the Oneonta Undergraduate Philosophy Conference of 2000 a paper on his treatment of aesthetics. It is a paper that represents earnest effort, but beyond that reveals, compared with my present person, a self-struggle of doubt and a fear of my own absurdity. When I read, in preparation of presenting, the finished work (reflecting, too, on an idea/disposition I had been assuming), I began to wonder whether I could actively accept, or decisively agree with, Heidegger’s philosophy, and what is perhaps even more, with the whole of my philosophical pursuit. It seemed, then, as if my work was all for naught: I, the unsuspecting student, embraced beliefs because of their generation, not on account of my own volition. The conference, as I experienced it, bound three years of study within three days. Nonetheless, when I should have readied my speech, I sat, anxiously consumed by a newly felt sense of self-doubt. When I should have delivered my paper, I offered to the audience my reasons for not being able to do so. Though the emotional expression of my inability to furnish the assumed piece proved cathartic, I have learned, and wish to say decidedly, that I made a mistake, that I dishonored an obligation (that being the formal delivery of my written work).

Given now the means to suggest a few words of importance, I wish to submit that the significance of my internal questioning is not that of an admission of my dishonorable conduct, but rather stands behind my acceptance of self-doubt. In the acceptance of that doubt, I saw, and remain to see now, the worth and weakness of philosophy and of myself. I’ve come to realize the accent of real possibility and expression: a sense of place both limited and boundless, but always steered by the will of one’s own decision. As such, I chose, and continue to choose mindfully, of myself and of the other, from what is both necessary and possible. Self-doubt delivered me unto an understanding of what is, fundamentally, most intrinsically mine: personal will.

I should say, accordingly, that it was the conference, under the influential vibrancy of all those involved, that exfoliated what could be called a sort of self-reckoning. No other occurrence, as I surmise the sum of my life’s experience, has ever forced an effect of such profundity. With that said, the struggle to make clear my inward-inquiry gives a definitive picture of those who have graciously given me their assistance and concern. So with this opportunity, I simply wish to offer my gratitude to the people of Oneonta and St. Mary’s, as they have extended petition and care toward myself and other students of our philosophical communities. For their compassion and reassurance, I wish to thank Dr. Douglas Shrader and Dr. Henry Rosemont, both professors whose brilliance and sincerity I honor. To Daniel Bristol, I express laughter in his humor and extend an embrace for his fellowship. With similar gratitude, I volunteer my indebtedness to Morgan Brenner, Rachel Houchins and Kevin McGarry, all individuals of love and limitless possibility. To Alan Paskow, John Schroeder, Jackie Paskow and Anne Leblans, I owe a tremendous amount of responsibility and respect, by virtue of their friendship and instruction. Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who, subtlety and uniquely, helped to make this year’s conference one of the most memorable and impacting moments of my life, and I am certain, that of others as well.

Iain Tucker Brown
St. Mary’s City, Maryland


The conference and this volume depend on the contributions and good will of many. The following organizations and local merchants provided generous financial and/or professional assistance:

  • SUNY Oneonta Student Association
  • The Ninash Foundation
  • The Philosophy Club
  • Morris Conference Center
  • The Philosophy Department
  • Oneonta Philosophy Studies
  • Organization of Ancillary Services
  • The Marketing Club
  • The Video Production Club
  • Alpine Ski Hut
  • Elena’s Sweet Indulgence
  • Gary’s Flower’s and Gifts
  • Hannaford Foods
  • Hummel’s Office Supply
  • Office Max
  • Oneonta Bagel Company
  • P & C
  • Price Chopper
  • Stewart’s Ice Cream Company
  • Stoeger Florist
  • Subway
  • The Village Printer
  • Wal-Mart
  • Woody’s Market
  • Wyckoff’s Florist

Special appreciation is extended to:

  • Ashok Malhotra, Joanna Crosby, and Henry Rosemont, Jr. for their time and inspiration
  • Cynthia Budka for leadership and commitment as student chair of the conference planning committee
  • The other students who served on the1999/2000 conference planning committee: Mark Ayotte, Morgan Brenner, Meghan Callahan, Gottlieb Jicha III, Molly Maroldo, Kevin McGarry, and Amanda Rasnick
  • Marjorie Holling for secretarial support
  • Cynthia Budka, Jason Ohliger, Elizabeth Verry, and Ann Williamson for editorial assistance
  • SUNY Oneonta faculty for patiently reviewing and evaluating a multitude of manuscripts especially Michael Green, Michael Koch, Achim Kaddermann, Ashok Malhotra, Anthony Roda, and Bram van Heuveln
  • SUNY Oneonta administration for support and encouragement especially Dean Michael Merilan, Provost F. Daniel Larkin, and President Alan B. Donovan
  • Parviz Morewedge, IGCS, SAGP, SSIPS, and Global Publications for financial and in-house support of this series

Finally, a heartfelt Thank You is extended to all the Presenters, Chairs, and Discussants for without them there would have been no Conference.

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