Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Department of Philosophy and Religion


Steven Hoeltzel

Patrick Fleming

Mark Piper


To paraphrase George Orwell, the best books are those that tell us what we already know. Perhaps, then, this thesis will ring most strikingly in the minds of those who have realized a deep dissatisfaction with the universal ethics of the day. Consequently, it is not the final word on the matter, but an exploration of a more practical ethic of living authentically. The paper deals with what I take to be the central question of philosophy: How should I live? It shows, I believe, that the proper vantage point to begin that inquiry can be at all times none other than the subjective. The whole sense of the paper might be summed up in the opening epitaph: “A man must have a code.”

Thus, the aim of the paper is to provide a foundation upon which the individual might start to construct his/her own practical-theory for how to live a life in tune with his/her desires. Its purpose will have been achieved if it proves useful and enjoyable to one person who reads and resonates with it. Although this work sits squarely within the tradition and style of analytic philosophy, I think its contents will prove of interest to anyone with the fortitude to read it through to completion, regardless of philosophical training or inclination. The value of the present work, then, lies not in its ambition to transcend philosophy, but in its effort to make it relevant and accessible. To the extent that this value is duly clear, I hope the reader will find him/herself oriented in the direction of greater freedom by a lucid recognition that it is not necessary to accept life as it has been presented.



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