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Wilson ’19 Receives Award at Philosophy Conference

Wilson ’19 Receives Award at Philosophy Conference

Buffalo, New York - May 11, 2018 - Finn Wilson ‘19, a philosophy major, received a certificate for the Best Question and Answer Session at an Undergraduate Philosophy Conference at SUNY Oneonta.

Wilson’s paper, "A Critique of Ayn Rand's Objectivism,” examined and criticized the moral basis for Rand’s philosophy known as Objectivism. Rand, an author and political philosopher, is often disregarded by philosophers as her arguments for Objectivism's version of ethical egoism has several holes, which Wilson pointed out.

“I think it does a disservice to ignore her,” said Wilson. “I think it's important to be able to critically evaluate her work and be able to do so without misrepresenting her.” 

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Finn Wilson '19, pictured at the Undergraduate Philosophy conference with his award.

Wilson’s initial goal for the research was to get an accurate understanding of Rand’s position. “I didn't want to go in with the perspective that she must be wrong, since this could very easily result in me finding faults that weren't really there. As the paper progressed and I clarified my own thoughts on the matter, I was able to frame the thesis as a critique of Objectivism,” added Wilson.

“The Undergraduate Philosophy Conference was a good venue for expressing Finn’s latest philosophical insight on the work of Ayn Rand. We are so proud of his performance,” said G. John Abbarno, PhD, professor of philosophy, in the Liberal Arts department

The teachers at D'Youville are so accommodating and are invested in helping their students in any way they can.

Persuaded to submit his paper by a professor, Wilson said the conference was a great experience.

“I think I had two main reasons for wanting to present at the conference. First, I wanted to get better at presenting about topics in front of other people, and I think I accomplished that. Second, the conference was a great opportunity for me to find out what other people were working on and receive feedback from others,” said Wilson. 

“The philosophy program at D'Youville emphasizes student-faculty relationship,” said Abbarno. “Our students are encouraged to explore a range of philosophical issues and grow in their ability to critically reason and develop ideas beyond what is read.”

Wilson said that it was his experiences here that helped him earn the Best Question and Answer Session.

“Many of the philosophy courses have a focus on class discussions and that provided me with a lot of opportunities to improve,” said Wilson. “Plus, my professors gave me plenty of insight on how to effectively produce arguments and structure them in a coherent matter. The teachers at D'Youville are so accommodating and are invested in helping their students in any way they can.”


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