Congratulations to Melanie Tate on being awarded the prestigious Graduate School Presidential Dissertation Fellowship for 2019-2020. The fellowship assists PhD Candidates in the final stages of writing and completing their dissertations by providing a full quarter of fellowship funding with tuition and benefits. Melanie's dissertation, Love in Descartes' Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy, examines the central ideas within seventeenth-century philosophy René Descartes' theory of love -- involving individual people being willing to join with others to form a whole that has a greater good than any of its parts.
To Melanie, "the idea that we 'join ourselves in volition' to others is central to [Descartes'] theory of love, and plays an important role in his moral philosophy." Melanie's main aim in examining this part of Descartes' work is "to explain Descartes' justification for why we ought to join ourselves in volition to others and to argue that we can prevent hatred by joining ourselves in volition to others." Beyond this, Melanie explains, "I strive to further our understanding of the relation between Descartes' metaphysics (the study of the nature of existence) and moral philosophy, as well as contribute to recent efforts to recover neglected thinkers, texts, and themes in the history of philosophy."
We look forward to seeing this project continue to progress!