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Christina Leach and Luke Neilson Defend Honours Theses

Two undergraduate students in the BA Honours Degree in Philosophy program—Christina Leach and Luke Neilson—have recently completed the oral defense component of their studies.

On May 2, 2019, Christina Leach defended her thesis "Bridging the Epistemic Gap between Patients and Practitioners through Psychiatric Narrative Accounts.” She examines the proposed use of patient illness experience told from a first-hand perspective, alongside the expertise of clinicians and diagnostic manuals (i.e. the DSM-V), as a way to close the existing knowledge gap in how mental disorder is understood.

Christina is in the final year of her undergraduate studies, in which she has focused on philosophy of science, ethics, philosophy of disability, and philosophy of psychiatry. She hopes to return to UCalgary to pursue graduate studies, and continue this work, in the next few years.

Luke defended his thesis "The Necessity of Philosophy for History : Hegel's Enduring Insight" on May 10, 2019. Hegel argued that philosophical reflection is necessary for the historical enterprise. Indeed, every historical description entails a minimal set of philosophical assumptions. As a consequence of this, Hegel is routinely accused of contravening established historical facts and for approaching history aprioristically. However, Luke suggests an interpretation of Hegel's writings under which Hegel emphasizes the importance of an empirical basis for history and for philosophy."

Luke is also in the final year of his program, and intends to spend the next year studying philosophy independently before pursuing graduate studies. He writes that his time in the BA Honours Degree in Philosophy program “was the most challenging and enlightening section of my undergraduate process. I had the opportunity to work one-on-one with experts in my preferred area, to think with like-minded students, and to study logic at a more advanced level. I highly recommend the experience to every philosophy student."

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