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King Junior Bryant “Brant” Barnes Presents Philosophy Research at Three Conferences

Bryant "Brant" BarnesBRISTOL, Tenn., Aug. 18, 2015 – King senior Bryant “Brant” Barnes recently presented philosophy research at the Undergraduate Conference for Philosophy at the University of Florida, the 16th Annual Southern Appalachian Undergraduate Philosophy Conference at the University of North Carolina - Asheville, and the George Washington Undergraduate Conference of Applied Ethics and Political Philosophy.

The Cleveland, Tenn., native is a Philosophy major minoring in Psychology. Barnes submitted his Philosophy research papers to three major conferences and was surprised to be accepted by all three.

“The quality of Brant’s papers and the initiative he took in getting his work accepted at top notch conferences are commendable, but I am particularly impressed by the eloquence and natural ability he demonstrates during the oral defense of his arguments,” says Dr. Craig Streetman, assistant professor of Philosophy at King University. “We face critical audiences at Philosophy conferences, and in every context in which Brant presented, he did a fine job navigating the hard questions and challenging objections that were put forth by faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduates alike. He represented King University in an exemplary fashion and helped solidify the outstanding reputation of our Philosophy program.”

Barnes presented “Reducing Subjective Character of Consciousness” at both the Undergraduate Conference for Philosophy at the University of Florida and the 16th Annual Southern Appalachian Undergraduate Philosophy Conference held at the University of North Carolina – Asheville.

“This research is a philosophy of mind piece refuting an argument against reductionism posed by American Philosopher Thomas Nagel,” said Barnes. Reductionism is the theory that every complex phenomenon, especially in biology or psychology, can be explained by analyzing the simplest, most basic physical mechanisms that are in operation during the phenomenon.

“The purpose of this paper is to combat the problem of ‘subjective character’ that arises when the reductionist attempts to constrain consciousness to physical processes,” added Barnes. “Nagel’s article ‘What It Is Like to Be a Bat’ has posed a problem for reductionist by asserting that to be conscious is to have a subjective understanding of what it is like to be oneself. This article [reviews] ‘subjective character’ of consciousness [and] the forms of reductionism that have failed to account for this; [it] proposes a new way to look at reductionism that includes a subjective view of consciousness.”

Barnes also presented his Philosophy research paper, “Virtue Ethics and Abortion,” to the George Washington University Undergraduate Conference of Applied Ethics and Political Philosophy. This paper is an argumentative piece about the role virtue ethics plays in the abortion debate.

Barnes stated, “The paper, [‘Virtue Ethics and Abortion,”] is essentially that we cannot make blanket moral judgements about abortion; we have to take it situation by situation and judge the motives of each particular case.”

Barnes said coming to King University was enough to break the mold he had built throughout high school. “King has given me a different way to view the world. Being a Philosophy major, you are presented with many different ways of thinking about problems. Dr. Streetman is a great motivator; he is always pushing me to get published and go to conferences. He helps me push the boundaries beyond what I think I can do.”

“My hope is that Brant’s success will inspire his peers to follow his example, for Philosophy offers ample opportunity for undergraduates from every walk of life and major to inject their thought into the national conversation,” said Streetman.

For additional information on King University’s Department of Philosophy contact Dr. Craig Streetman at 423.652.4158 or wcstreetman@king.edu.

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