A Tale of Two Theses: Exploring Plato and Kant

Meet Aemann 弌曼, a dual major in political science and ancient Mediterranean studies.

September 22, 2022

Thesis adviser: Peter Steinberger [political science]; Nigel Nicholson [Greek, Latin, and Ancient Mediterranean Studies]

Theses: political science thesis: “On the Facticity and the Normativity of Rationality: A Reading of the Habermas-Brandom Correspondence (1999/2002).” GLAM thesis: “The Literary Form of the Dialogue and the Ethics of Philosophy in Plato’s Gorgias.”

What it’s about: PoliSci thesis: Why I think that Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason bears political relevance. GLAM thesis: Why I think that Plato believes that we should be mindful of how to have a conversation.

Influential professors:  My two most influential professors were my thesis advisors, Peter Steinberger and Nigel Nicholson, but Prof. Ellen Millender [GLAM] showed me how to engage with secondary sources; Sonia Sabnis [GLAM] made my double major possible and supported my somewhat random language studies. Alice Hu [GLAM] taught a wonderful class on Sophocles’s Ajax.

Influential book: My Broken Mariko by Waka Hirako and One Piece by Eiichirō Oda.

Cool stuff: I drew manga; played the harpsichord and the organ (thanks to generous funding from the music department ); taught myself Latin and then placed in advanced Latin with help from Prof. Sonia Sabnis. 

Challenges faced: Learning how to participate in conference in a respectful manner and build on what others have said; learning how to write; learning how to be wary of, and articulate, what I do not know; and learning how to have a conversation. 

How Reed changed me: I don’t want this to sound like Reed propaganda, but my amazing professors taught me how to be responsible for my own thoughts and life, and be kind.

What’s next: Pursuing my PhD in politics at Princeton University. In terms of life aspirations, I want to be a mangaka.