School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Theses
Now showing items 1-12 of 1617
Extended Model Semantics and Forgetting in Dynamic Epistemic Logic
In this thesis I investigate the idea of modeling epistemic updates as static modal operators. I discuss Extended Model Semantics for Dynamic Epistemic Logics, specifically Action Model Logic with postconditions. I argue that we get a better and more versatile framework for epistemic actions than with the standard update semantics. This comes from the use of normality conditions which act like frame conditions for the modal relationships corresponding to actions. By defining those we pin-point the exact type of actions we are trying to model and so they give us an easy option to change our actions by simply adding, removing, or changing normality conditions. Extended models will be used to develop new axiomatic systems. These axioms are non-reductive, i.e. do not simply reduce the truth of dynamic formulas down to the truth of corresponding static epistemic formulas, in nature and therefore allow for a better categorization of epistemic actions mirroring the normality conditions from which they are derived. These axioms will also be used to develop Display Logic proof systems for all logics discussed in the thesis. These are then analyzed and shown to be sound and complete and allow for cut-elimination. This has a twofold purpose: It shows the usefulness of normality conditions and the corresponding axioms and it also helps us add to the toolbox of Display Logic as a proof system for modal logic. I also develop logics of forgetting that allow for modelling of the forgetting of positive epistemic formulas in multi-agent epistemic logic. I also discuss and develop extensions that allow for considering epistemic entrenchment of formulas and the forgetting of negative epistemic formulas and so all epistemic formulas. Additionally, extended semantics for the different logics of forgetting are developed with corresponding non-reductive axioms and, as already mentioned, display calculi.
The Mischief Wrought by the Master of the Skerryvore: Victoria at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876
This thesis is a study of the colony of Victoria’s involvement in the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. The chance to send a display to Philadelphia provided an exciting opportunity for the colony to foster a sense of racial and cultural belonging with the Exhibition’s fairgoers with the aim of consolidating economic, cultural, scientific and social networks between Victoria, the United States and the world. Of the Australian colonies, Victoria sent the largest exhibition contingent to Philadelphia. However, restrictive trade laws, parliamentary disunity, and doubts regarding the usefulness of sending exhibits to the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition negatively impacted its planning and staging. These problems ultimately led to the attempted scuttling of the Skerryvore, the ship tasked with transporting the Victorian exhibits to the United States, and the subsequent damage to many of the items sent to represent the colony at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. This thesis uses Victoria’s involvement in the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition as a lens through which to consider how competing visions of the colony’s future, as well as economic and political factors, impacted the colony’s representation at Philadelphia. By re-embedding this event in the complex economic, political, and cultural context within which it took place, this thesis sheds light on the broader role played by these influences in affecting the representation of colonies, dependencies and nations at nineteenth-century exhibitions.
Epistemic Injustice in Cases of Compulsory Psychiatric Treatment
This thesis examines the impact of epistemic injustice on people in compulsory psychiatric treatment, providing an account of ‘institutional’ testimonial injustice, and proposing structural solutions, which will require the incorporation of epistemic resources challenging dominant clinical perspectives. Exploring the history of Mad Pride and some of the objections to its aims, I demonstrate not only that their alternative epistemic resources are valid, but that psychiatry as a discipline will struggle to claim objectivity without genuine engagement with them. I ultimately contend that this will not be possible while compulsory treatment remains a reality, providing an epistemic argument for its elimination.
A Quarrel with the German People? The Totalising Logic of Enmity, Narratives of Enmity and the “German Question” on the Australian Home Front During the Second World War
A significant aspect of wartime discourse is the construction, definition and redefinition of in-group and out-group identities which justify, rationalise and strengthen the support and unity behind a war effort. The totalising “logic” of contemporary visions of twentieth century peoples’ wars, and the horrific realities of such conflicts, facilitated the systematic demonisation, dehumanisation and condemnation of entire peoples and nations. Recent scholarship, however, has emphasised the need to account for unique contexts and political, cultural and moral choice when analysing enmity during the Second World War. Such factors rendered the totalisation of enmity during the conflict, and its concurrent “communitarisation” of identities, contextually contingent, conditional, and far from inevitable, notwithstanding the irrevocable momentum of the enmity process in totalising peoples’ wars. This thesis explores the logic of totalising enmity during the Second World War. It analyses Australian public discourse and contemporary framing of the German enemy between 1939 and 1945. It focuses on the dynamic of this logic by exploring the structures, forms and contested nature of various “narratives of enmity” relating to the “German Question” in the Australian context. Reduced to its core, the German Question summarises the polarising debates on the Allied home fronts as to whether the German nation and people, through their national character, history, culture and aims, expressed bellicose intent and complicity with the objectives, ideology and horrors of National Socialism and the Nazi regime. These questions, this thesis posits, heavily influenced wartime enmification and problematised Australian conceptions of the enemy, despite the unanimity of Australian support for a perceived just, defensive, “good” war against Nazism. Qualitative analysis, largely focusing on Australian print media – editorials, foreign correspondence cables, reports, the correspondence columns, published speeches, cartoons and images across a variety of newspapers, magazines, journals – and other published materials, reveals several ambiguous, contested and often contradictory enmity narratives relating to the German people and nation. This thesis demonstrates Australia’s complex response to the totalising logic of enmity. This thesis proposes that totalising narratives of enmity encompassing the German people were far more pronounced in Australian wartime discourse than previously accounted for in the historiography, and grew exponentially as the war progressed. Widely held distinctions between the German people and Nazism professed in the first months of the war evaporated as the war progressed in light of changing wartime contexts. This process, however, remained contested between 1939 and 1945, even though there was a widespread receptiveness to, and expression of, totalising enmity narratives by the end of the conflict. This thesis investigates the intersecting relationship between three major themes in Australian war discourse – totalising enmity, narratives of enmity and the German Question – to further historical understanding of Australian experiences and attitudes under the pressures of a totalising peoples’ war and situate these findings within the broader historiography of such conflicts.
In Black and White: The rise, fall and on-going consequences of a racial slur in Australian newspapers
In Australia, racism cannot be extricated from settler expropriation of indigenous labour. In this thesis, I trace this entanglement through the lens of a single word – ‘nigger’ – as it has appeared in Australian print media in reference to Aboriginal people and Papuans, from when the term gained currency in the 1860s until its dwindling nearly a century later. I argue that increasing use of ‘nigger’ represented a shift in the way settlers perceived these peoples. Settlers began to conceive of indigenous peoples less as primitive savages or land-occupying natives and more as an exploitable source of cheap labour. This occurred as part of a global process, as Europeans and especially Neo-Europeans consolidated and invested in a dichotomous discourse of race, increasingly figuring themselves as ‘white’ and those whose bodies and labour they exploited as ‘black’. While the use of the slur itself rose and fell, the hierarchical racial schemata of which it was the herald are yet to be dismantled.
What is the Internet of Things? An ontological investigation
he Internet of Things is widely considered to be of major – and increasing – significance as a global socio-technical phenomenon. However, answering the question of what the Internet of Things is turns out to be surprisingly problematic. The problem is not the lack of an answer: indeed, the majority of writings on the Internet of Things seek to address this question in some manner. Rather, the problem is the range and diversity of answers that are proposed, leading to a troubling perplexity about how these answers might separately or collectively describe the Internet of Things. Resolving this perplexity is a highly pertinent challenge given the putative importance of the Internet of Things. In addressing this challenge, I take an unreservedly ontological approach, building on recent ontological thinking in anthropology, Science and Technology Studies and philosophy. I first identify and summarise six influential philosophical schools of thought regarding the ontology of technology: Artefact-based Ontology, Technological Essentialism, Social constructivism, Relationism, Postphenomenology and Object-Oriented Ontology. I then use an inductive method to analyse a sample of Internet of Things literature, thus uncovering common categories of ontological claims about the Internet of Things. Twelve such categories are derived, revealing the Internet of Things to be referred to variously as a technological artefact, a trajectory, a force, an idea, a business opportunity, a contested term, a social actor, something threatened and threatening, a context of use, an enchanted world and a human endeavour. These ontological categories are then brought into dialogue with the philosophical ontologies of technology, identifying where the various categories accord with (or are in conflict with) the different philosophical ontologies. Based on this analysis, I conclude that the Internet of Things, as reflected in the literature sample, is ontologically multiple, in the sense of having more than one way of being. The analysis also highlights limitations in how well any one of philosophical ontologies can account for the Internet of Things as it is described in the literature. In the final stage of my analysis, I consider the possibility that a single underlying ontology might be able to account for the observed ontological multiplicity of the Internet of Things. After reviewing each of the philosophical ontologies, I conclude that Object-Oriented Ontology – and in particular the theory of hyperobjects – provides the most useful underlying ontology.
Interdisciplinary approaches to the study of distanciated Islamic manuscripts: ‘Sad Kalamih [Kalima] Shah Vilayat (One Hundred Sayings by Ali): Manzumih [Manzuma] dar Hajj (Futuh al-Haramayn)’ – a case study
This research addresses challenges posed by the study of distanciated Oriental manuscripts in research collections. Such challenges include language barriers, incomplete provenance, inaccuracies in the catalogue entries and limited research on individual manuscripts. As a result, questions of meaning and significance of such manuscripts are difficult to answer. Focusing on one volume, Sad kalamih Shah Vilayat: Manzumih dar Hajj/ [bih] khatt-i Shah Mahmud (MUL 17), in the Middle Eastern Collection of the University of Melbourne this research proposed a methodology to investigate: - the potential meanings understood or attributed to these manuscripts in their current time and place and their original meaning, both as a book and object. - the significance of each manuscript in its current and original time and place. The manuscript is a composite manuscript with two separate and independent books, bound into one volume. - Book One is a copy of One Hundred Sayings of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib in Arabic and their translation into Persian (Farsi) by 'Adil ibn 'Ali Shirazi - Book Two is a copy of a Hajj travelogue named Futuh al-Haramayn by Muhyi al-Din Lari. Using qualitative methodology including codicology, textual criticism, translation, art history, and historical methodologies within an interdisciplinary approach this thesis explored values and information embedded in the materiality, art and text of the volume. Codicological methods involving raking, UV, IR and normal light, light sheets, magnification and microscopy were applied to understand materials and techniques, page layouts, ordering system, scribes and illuminators. Formal analysis of the shapes, motifs and colours was used to investigate illuminations and illustrations. Comparative studies of maps and other copies of the books was used to expose missing pages and revealed the date of the manuscript and place it in its proper chain of transcription. Book Two was partially translated into English. In order to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the cultural and social context in which the books were produced, literary and historical documents, manuscripts and treatises were studied. The result of the interdisciplinary approach provided information on the meaning of the volume by determining its history, bibliographical data, biography and provenance of each book; and the significance of both books, providing insights into the cultural and religious contexts in which the volume was produced. The research found Book One is a copy of One Hundred Sayings translated into Persian (Farsi) by 'Adil ibn 'Ali Shirazi in the 17th century in Iran. It is made from two independent copies of One Hundred Sayings of 'Ali, with one scribe but two different illuminators. It was repaired in Bukhara, and belonged to a person named Farrukh either in the year 1603 or sometime between the years 1688 and 1785. Book Two was found to be a rare example of one of the oldest versions of the text of Futuh al-Haramayn, transcribed in late 16th century around 1560 AD (968 AH), outside Mecca and probably in Iran. Findings included identifying Nitami or Nizami, as the transcriber and illuminator of the book; that one owner was an Azerbaijani who used the book as either a Hajj guide or a practical source of knowledge on Hajj and another was named Zayn al 'Abidin; and that at least three illustrations were intentionally removed and the catchwords manipulated to cover up this deletion. The findings of this research demonstrate the value of focused interdisciplinary study of one distanciated manuscript. The results enhanced our knowledge of the manuscripts, contributing to the current body of knowledge, providing links and connections between communities with shared cultures, histories and interests, and establishing a methodology that can be transferred to new studies of distanciated collections.
Barriers to Change, Possibilities for Resistance: Concepts within Structures of Oppression, Obstacles to Innovation, and the Implementation Challenge of Conceptual Engineering
Conceptual engineering, when it comes to social kind concepts, has strong political roots within the academy and activist circles alike. But if conceptual engineering, understood as the development of non-dominant conceptual practices, is to be a useful tool for the purposes of achieving or contributing to social justice, there must be a means by which the concepts we design in theory, or within small communities of practice, can take root and propagate in dominant contexts. This, broadly speaking, is known as the implementation challenge of conceptual engineering. This thesis has the general task: to reorient how we approach the implementation challenge. It makes explicit and criticises existing accounts of conceptual implementation, namely those that focus on the role of individualistic implementation strategies in bringing about conceptual change within a community. This emphasis on individual conceptual advocacy warps our perception of the shape, size, and nature of the problem. It fails to recognise our situatedness in social structures that work to maintain and entrench the conceptual status quo, and which stifle conceptual innovation. In this thesis, I identify two mechanisms of conceptual maintenance: psychological convergence mechanisms and mechanisms of conceptual reproduction. The former refers to the social processes by which thinkers and speakers gain similar knowledge structures, in particular overlapping characterizations (i.e. stereotypes), within a community; and the latter, which will be the core focus of this thesis, refers to the mechanisms that promote the copying of prior stable patterns of classification with a term. Both mechanisms are ubiquitous within our social and representational milieu, operating within formal institutions to everyday conversation and engagement with social reality, and working to preserve dominant terms of conceptual engagement. Importantly, both reduce the likelihood of an individual successfully motivating others, within dominant contexts, to adopt an engineered conceptual practice. After general discussion of mechanisms of conceptual maintenance, I spend time explicating certain problems for a particular individualistic implementation strategy that focuses on the reproduction of alternative conceptual practices within in interpersonal speech situations. In particular, the strategy involves engaging with dominant speakers in conversation as to which concept should be expressed by a shared word in a context (i.e. metalinguistic disagreement). The hope is that the dominant speaker will recognise that an extant conceptual practice is deficient, or stands in need of improvement. I argue that such forms of disagreement are often infected with unjust power relations that tend to advantage dominant speakers and existing patterns of classification. This contributes to preserving the conceptual status quo, and subsequently suppresses conceptual change. Moreover, when metalinguistic disagreement favours dominant speakers, I argue that this often constitutes hitherto undiscussed forms of epistemic and linguistic injustice. Overall, my aim is to show that when we develop implementation strategies, we should be careful to take into account the social infrastructure and forces that work to keep things conceptually as they are.
Roman Slavery and Humanitarian Ideas
The Thesis evaluates humanitarian ideas in the ancient world around Roman slavery, including from proponents of Stoicism and early Christianity. The Thesis examines Seneca and Epictetus as Stoics and John Chrysostom and Gregory of Nyssa as Christians. They are evaluated according to the principles of personhood, treatment and freedom to determine what extent they can be taken as humanitarian authors in the ancient context. They are also compared with each other to determine what lessons we can draw about slavery and humanitarianism in the ancient world.
'Qual’è utile alla Città’: pizzochere networks, social ‘usefulness’, and female precarity in early modern Venice
This thesis provides the first dedicated study of the identity, social status, and social roles of pizzochere, or lay religious women, in early modern Venice. Pizzochere professed simple religious vows, usually to a mendicant order, and as professed laywomen lived a complex duality, neither fully secular nor fully religious; vita activa and vita contemplativa. Most also lived outside of the social statuses of wife (and mother and widow) or nun, the roles viewed as conventional for women. This thesis argues that pizzochere’s social position was, nonetheless, not only accepted, but perceived as integral to the proper functioning of the city. Drawing from archival, visual, literary, and architectural evidence, the thesis approaches pizzochere primarily through the concept of utilita, or usefulness, a concept raised surprisingly frequently with regard to these women. It asks what sort of women became pizzochere in sixteenth-century Venice, and how they were perceived by, and interacted with, their contemporary community. Bringing together histories of gender and women’s experiences, histories of lay devotional structures, and the related histories of charity, poor relief and hospitals, the thesis uses pizzochere, viewed as a kind of working woman, as a lens through which to explore the social and economic opportunities available to, and the experiences of, non-elite laywomen in early modern Venice more broadly. Situating these individual women and communities within the city and its other charitable, devotional, and social structures, both informal and governmental, reveals that pizzochere networks included and assisted women of widely varied social background, and filled a significant space in Venetians' approaches to the systemic vulnerabilities faced by women. The works that pizzochere undertook within the city for vocational fulfilment and income were tasks that were necessary and valued within the community. Consequently, pizzochere contributed, and were perceived to contribute, to establishing Venice's status as an ideal Christian state. The thesis highlights how women’s work served and sustained the early modern State, and how non-elite women’s agency operated in the early modern city.
Survival, camraderie and aspirations: the intimate lives of Chinese and Vietnamese women in Melbourne's 1990s textiles industry
This thesis examines the working subjectivities of female Chinese and Vietnamese textiles workers in 1990s Melbourne, with a particular focus on raced and gendered agencies. While traditional labour historians elucidate worker resistance through protest and trade union dynamics, such a framework does little to account for the 'hidden' agency of migrant workers who were outwardly circumspect and forbearing. Drawing extensively on oral history interviewing and diasporic memory, this thesis takes a ‘history from below’ approach and hones in on the intimate, personal dimensions of garment factory work that were central to the contestation of power. In doing so, it demonstrates how persistence and tacit expressions of resistance in the workplace amongst Chinese and Vietnamese textiles workers were located in interpersonal factory relationships, class aspirations and motherhood.
Talking Sense to the American People: The Appeal of Adlai Stevenson in the McCarthy Era.
The purpose of the thesis is to investigate the enduring popularity of Adlai Stevenson with the liberal elements of the Democratic Party during the 1950’s. This is worth investigating as he was the overwhelming favourites of liberals during the period despite holding conservative positions on many of the major issues that concerned liberalism. The thesis is structured in three chapters analysing Stevenson’s political career: The first is devoted to explaining his gubernatorial career, the second his nomination and performance during the 1952 election, the third focuses on how Stevenson managed to remain relevant as McCarthyism faded as an issue. The thesis found Stevenson’s prominence is best explained by his stance of McCarthyism. Stevenson’s defence of civil liberties and his sober and sensible persona impressed and inspired liberals during a time of bitter partisanship and apparent hysteria.