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Chris Hynes '14: A Question of Morality

The Research

In his research project, Chris Hynes, a double major in mathematics and philosophy, explores competing views of morality, particularly the tension between the notion of “agent-centered prerogatives” and the more Kantian and consequentialist theories of the “impartial view.” Hynes also investigates a distinctly different approach, one that is more indebted to Plato and Aristotle, and he considers whether this theory presents a viable alternative to the impartial conception of morality.

In His Own Words

“I began this project looking for answers. I thought perhaps there was some deep underlying truth about human values that would explain why we are moral. I thought that there was some deep secret just waiting to be discovered amidst the mountains of literature. After I stopped looking for the deep answer that would explain it all and began focusing simply on ethical questions, that’s when I achieved the understanding I was looking for to begin with. Conducting this research has helped me notice and appreciate the paradoxes in all aspects of life, and allowed me to accept the confusion it engenders with more peace and in a more thoughtful manner.”

Adviser: L. Nandi Theunissen, Duane L. Peterson Assistant Professor in Ethics, Philosophy