Spotlight on Current Students
Philosophy Majors Garrett Van, Kathleen MacKenzie, Adam Rose, Christina Checa present their summer research work at the Occidental Undergaduate Research Conference, Summer 2015
Kathleen McKenzie ('16) describes her summer research through the URC this summer (2015)
The (Mis)use of Prescription Stimulants by Healthy College Students for Cognitive Enhancement
"This summer I researched the ethics of prescription stimulant (mis)use by healthy college students for cognitive enhancement. Increasingly misused on college campuses, methylphenidate (e.g. Ritalin) and mixed amphetamine salts (e.g. Adderall) are most commonly thought to have cognitive enhancing effects by college students. By drawing on evidence from Cognitive Psychology literature, I evaluated prescription stimulant effects on cognition, enabling me to knowledgeably apply an ethical framework to determine what ought to be done about prescription stimulant (mis)use. More pointedly, I applied the Principlism approach developed by Tom Beacuhamp and James Childress to organize recommendations from bioethics literature, and to raise important points relevant to the four principles of Principlism. Following this, I argue for critical considerations that ought to be reflected on when making future decisions addressing the culture of prescription stimulant (mis)use for cognitive enhancement."
Garrett Van ('16) describes his summer research through the URC this summer (2015)
Inequality, Happiness, and Education
"My research this summer evaluated an apparent dichotomy between educating for the good of the community vs. educating for the good of the individual. The premise I begin from is that rectifying inequality and educating individuals to live well (happiness) is something that is worthwhile and should be done via the education system. With inequality growing and thinkers questioning the conception that wealth correlates with happiness my research sought to critically evaluate the aims of the education system of the United States today in regards to rectifying inequality and educating individuals to live well (happiness) and explain two potential routes for fixing it. Although Aristotle's solution aims at the good of the individual, his solution requires dictating parental choice so as to create equal opportunity which is philosophically problematic. Therefore I argue that in order to get what we want from education (rectifying inequality and educating individuals to achieve happiness in that they live well) we need to radically change the education system so that it is no longer a competition. I use Rousseau to frame the basic tenants and aims of this new education system which is aimed at the good of the individual."
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