Volume 3: Spring 2018

Table of Contents


Papers Presented at the Conference

Additional Paper

Editing Team


Alex Farley '19 is a junior from Houston, Texas. He is a pursuing a double major in Philosophy and Economics. Alex is a member of University Singers, Washington and Lee's premier choral ensemble, and General Admissions, the university's premier coed A Capel- la group. This summer, Alex is researching how social networks impact ethical leadership. After college, Alex hopes to either attend law school or graduate school for philosophy.

Assistant Editors

Kiera Judge '18 is a senior from Kennett Square, PA. She is graduating with majors in Philosophy, Economics, and Politics. She wrote her Philosophy honors thesis on practical applications of Henry Sidgwick's utilitarianism. Outside of the classroom, Kiera is the President of Phi Sigma Tau Philosophy Honors Society, a member of Pi Beta Phi Fraterni- ty for Women, and served as the President of Washington and Lee's Moot Court team.

Rachael Miller '18 is a senior Philosophy and Japanese double major from Corning, New York. In her four years of Washington and Lee, she has been an active participant of the Mudd Center, and has served as an editor on the Mudd Journal of Ethics twice. She intends to pursue a Doctorate of Philosophy following a brief break from her studies - al- though her philosophical specialty is more inclined toward metaphysics and epistemology.

Kassie Scott '18 is a senior from Pennsville, New Jersey. She has majors in English and Sociology with a minor in Poverty and Human Capability Studies. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Alpha Kappa Delta. In addition to study- ing abroad in London as a US-UK Fulbright Summer Institute recipient, Kassie has also worked abroad in Romania. She first served as a human rights intern to a nongovern- mental organization and later conducted ethnographic research on housing rights. After graduation, Kassie hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Social Policy.

Sesha Carrier '19 is a junior Philosophy major and Film and Visual Studies minor from Oregon. This was her first year volunteering her services as an editor for the Mudd Journal of Ethics, but she has plenty of experience curating academic journals as the edi- tor-in-chief of The Stone, Washington and Lee's interdisciplinary academic journal. Bear- ing a strong passion for healing and caregiving, she intends to pursue a Master's Degree in Psychotherapy pending her graduation from Washington and Lee.

Stanton Lawes Geyer '20 is a sophomore at Washington and Lee University majoring in Global Politics and minoring in both Philosophy and Middle East & South Asian Studies with an Arabic concentration. In high school Stanton participated in and helped lead his choir and cross country teams. Stanton has continued pursuing extracurricular interests through the Mudd Journal, Amnesty International at W&L, and the Association for Mid- dle East Interests. He hopes to explore questions in critical theory and sociology before and after graduating in 2020.

Parker Robertson '20 is a sophomore from Bend, OR. In high school, he led a staff of 80 students as Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper. At Washington and Lee, he is involved in the Williams Investment Society and the Real Estate Society. He is also the managing editor of the Stone, an interdisciplinary academic journal published annually. Additionally, Parker is a peer counselor, a member of Amnesty International, and a mem- ber of Kathekon. He plans to graduate with a double major in Business Administration and German with a minor in Philosophy.

Sierra Terrana '20 is a sophomore from Tampa, Florida. She is majoring in English and minoring in Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies with an Arabic language emphasis. Sierra will spend this summer studying Arabic language and culture in Amman, Jordan, and the upcoming fall semester in Beirut, Lebanon at the American University of Beirut. After graduating, she hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in international relations.

About the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics

The Roger Mudd Center for Ethics was established in 2010 through a gift to the Uni versity from award-winning journalist Roger Mudd. When he made his gift, Mudd said that "given the state of ethics in our current culture, this seems a fitting time to endow a center for the study of ethics, and my university is its fitting home."

Today, the Mudd Center furthers that study of ethics by organizing rigorous, interdis­ciplinary programming. In addition to welcoming distinguished lecturers throughout the year to speak on ethical issues, the Mudd Center also sponsors and organizes ethics-based conferences, professional ethics institutes, and other public events that further discussion and thought about ethics among students, faculty, and staff at Washington and Lee and beyond.

About Roger Mudd

Roger Mudd graduated from Washington and Lee University with a degree in History in 1950. Mudd’s distinguished career in television journalism includes positions at CBS, NBC, PBS, and the History Channel. He has won five Emmy Awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards, and the Joan S. Barone Award for Distinguished Washington Reporting. Mudd serves on the board of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) and helped establish the VFIC Ethics Bowl, an annual competition in which teams from Virginia’s private colleges and universities debate ethical issues. He is also a member of the advisory committee for Washington and Lee’s department of Journalism and Mass Communications, and is an honored benefactor of Washington and Lee.

Letter from the Editor

On March 10, 2018, three undergraduate students traveled to Washington and Lee Univer- sity to deliver papers on a wide variety of ethical issues, ranging from what our attitudes should be toward death to whether people are morally obligated to protect their epigenetics to ensure a healthy genome for their children.

By all accounts, the third annual Mudd Undergraduate Conference in Ethics was a tre- mendous success. The papers presented and the ethical ideas contained within these papers were of excellent academic quality. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, the discus- sion generated from each paper was insightful and thought provoking, impacting both the speakers and the audience members in attendance. I firmly believe that philosophy is not a field of study meant for solitary engagement, but rather a field whose potential is only fully realized when individuals thoughtfully connect with one another. As such, it is accurate to say that at this conference, robust philosophizing occurred.

The third annual publication of The Mudd Journal represents our attempt to bring this act of philosophizing to our readers and allow for the continuation of these important discussions among our readers. While covering a wide-array of topics, these papers all seek to do the same thing: make the reader pause, think, and reflect. Essays on multiculturalism, non-dual awareness, and immortality call us to reflect and think critically about both the way in which we view the world and our existence in the world. Essays on the moral duty of schools and journalistic objectivity force us to question our current institutions and consider what we demand of these societal systems. Finally, essays on epigenetics and neo-Machiavellian consequentialism make us reflect on what we consider an ethical life and moral acts to be. We are eager to publish all of these excellent works in our journal.

The Mudd Journal of Ethics is a product of extraordinary effort on behalf of numerous individuals whom I would be remiss not to thank. Debra Frein of the Mudd Center helped make our conference possible and has been just as valuable to the publication of this journal. Mary Woodson and Denise Watts of the Publications office at Washington and Lee have both been essential in our effort to create an attractive journal that we are proud to publish. As well, I am incredibly thankful for the editors of the journal who read each of the paper submissions, provided thoughtful feedback, and proposed useful edits and alterations. I want to thank each of them: Rachael Miller, Kassie Scott, Kiera Judge, Sesha Carrier, Parker Robertson, Sierra Terrana, and Stanton Geyer. Without them, and without all of the previ- ously mentioned individuals, this journal would not have been possible.
Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Angela Smith, Director of the Mudd Center for Ethics, who really made the third volume of this journal possible. Her unending support, guiding hand, and enthusiastic commitment made both the hosting of the conference and publish- ing of this journal possible. I am incredibly thankful for Dr. Smith's guidance and profound wisdom.

I hope that the reader will enjoy this excellent collection of ethics-based scholarship from undergraduate philosophers across the country. Take your time as you read; pause, think, and reflect. Each paper's ideas are important, and we are honored to present them here, in this third volume of The Mudd Journal.

Alex Farley '19