Volume 4: Spring 2019

Table of Contents


Papers Presented at the Conference

Additional Papers

Editing Team

Editor in Chief

Alex Farley '19 is a senior from Houston, Texas. He is pursuing a double major in Philosophy and Economics. Alex is a member of University Singers, Washington and Lee's premier choral ensemble, and is the captain of the Ethics Bowl team. He wrote his Philosophy honors thesis on the role of empathy in moral decision making. After graduation, Alex will be working as a consultant at A.T. Kearney in Washington, D.C.

Assistant Editors

Parker Robertson '20 is a junior from Chicago, Illinois. At Washington and Lee, he is involved in the Williams Investment Society and the Real Estate Society. Additionally, Robertson is a Peer Counselor, President of the German Club, and a member of Kathekon. Beyond academic and extracurricular interests, Robertson enjoys hiking, photography, and volunteering in the community. He plans to graduate with a double major in Business Administration and German with a minor in Philosophy. This summer, Robertson will be an investment management summer analyst with a bulge bracket bank in New York City.

Clare Perry '21 is a sophomore from Richmond, Virginia. She is majoring in Philosophy and American History and minoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. In addition to her work for the Ethics Journal, Clare is also a member of Washington and Lee's Ethics Bowl team. After graduation, Clare hopes to attend law school.


Allan Blenman '19 is a senior from New York City, New York. He has a major in Psychology and a minor in Creative Writing. He is a member of the Lead Banquet committee, the service fraternity, APO, and the University Singers. He has an interest in providing counsel to individuals in the criminal justice system who suffer from severe mental illness and potentially changing current legal policies. Post graduation, Allan intends to acquire a job for 1-2 years before eventually attending graduate school to pursue a Master's degree in Forensic Psychology."

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 editor-in­ chief of The Stone, Washington and Lee's interdisciplinary academic journal. Bearing
a strong passion for healing and caregiving, she intends to pursue a Master's Degree in Psychotherapy pending her graduation from Washington and Lee.

Allie Rutledge '19 is a senior from Amesbury, Massachusetts. She is majoring in philosophy and neuroscience. She is also on the Polo Team and the Ethics Bowl team.

Jake Sirota '19 is a senior majoring in Philosophy. He has done research on selfhood and alienation and has conducted anthropological fieldwork and directed documentary films in India and Nepal. After graduation he hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Religious Studies.

Brittany Smith '19 is a senior from Princeton, West Virginia. She has majors in English and Philosophy. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma, and Phi Sigma Tau. After graduation, Brittany will prepare to begin law school in the fall.

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.

Stanton Geyer '20 is a junior from Dallas, Texas, pursuing a Global Politics Major and minors in Arabic language and Philosophy. He cherishes his past summer studies at St Anne's College, Oxford, and the American University of Beirut, and plans to study in Beirut again before graduation. His service with W&L's Amnesty International chapter has helped focus his human rights and civil liberties monitoring and activism career interests. Stanton plans to intern in summer 2019 assisting policy and research teams.

Chad Thomas '21 is a sophomore from Wiesbaden, Germany majoring in Philosophy and Mathematics. He is the Class of 2021 Representative to the Executive Committee and serves as Chair of the Traveller safe-ride Dispatch program. Last year, he spent a month abroad directing and producing a documentary on modern-day slavery in Ghana, and
he will continue his work in media production this summer at the US Department of State. After graduation, Chad hopes to continue working for the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer.

About the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics

The Roger Mudd Center for Ethics was established in 2010 through a gift to the university 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 9, 2019, five undergraduate students traveled to Washington and Lee University to deliver papers on a wide variety of ethical issues, ranging from how online anonymity changes our view of what actions are permissible to how queer feminists should adopt Queer Identity Power over Straight Identity Power.

By all accounts, the fourth annual Mudd Undergraduate Conference in Ethics was a tremendous success. The papers presented and the ethical ideas contained within these papers were of excellent academic quality. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, the discussion 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 fourth 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 online anonymity and moral responsibility call us to reflect and think critically about the way in which we interact with those around us. Essays on identity power and microaggressions force us to question our current hierarchical structures of power within society and what our role is in maintaining these structures. Finally, essays on informed consent and health disparities make us reflect on what we consider equitable treatment of our fellow citizens and disadvantaged groups 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: Parker Robertson, Clare Perry, Jake Sirota, Brittany Smith, Allan Blenman, Allie Rutledge, Sesha Carrier, Stanton Geyer, Sierra Terrana, Chad Thomas, and Kushali Kumar. Without all of these individuals this journal would not have been possible.

Finally, I would like to thank Professor Brian Murchison, Director of the Mudd Center for Ethics, who really made the fourth volume of this journal possible. His unending support, guiding hand, and enthusiastic commitment made both the hosting of the conference and publishing of this journal possible. I am incredibly thankful for Professor Murchison'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 fourth volume of The Mudd Journal.

Alex Farley '19