Katherine Sweet


I hold a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Saint Louis University (2022).


I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Notre Dame's Center for Philosophy of Religion (2022-2023 academic year).



Current Research

My current research project aims to defend an account of human flourishing compatible with the “unique human function” requirements found in Aristotelian virtue theory. If the good life for a human person depends on her activating her uniquely human capacities, then unintuitively, some human beings may not be able to flourish, given certain impairments to those capacities. The main question is, what are the capacities required for humans to flourish, such that human flourishing is possible even in cases of cognitive impairment or physical disability? I aim to answer this question by explicating the nature of interpersonal relationships, including their intellectual constitution.

I argue that relationships are activities, both physical and intellectual. I describe the nature of intellectual activity within the activity of relating to another. I defend an account of intellectual virtue, virtuous activity, and epistemic goods produced by such activity. I then argue that the relation between intellective activity and interpersonal connection is different from the relation between states of intellect and interpersonal connection. Loving relationships are not mere attitudes, they are virtuous activities. This account of personal connection can answer important questions in both ethics and epistemology, which I develop in the project. For instance, an account of loving relationship as virtuous activity has the potential to explain the difference between loving relationships and non-loving ones, using virtue theory. This project can also offer a unified account of different kinds of love, e.g., familial and romantic love, in addition to elucidating value questions in epistemology.

Publications


(Scientia et Fides, forthcoming)


Abstract:

Collaborative research is quite common in contemporary society; indeed, it may be thought that scientists cannot live without it. Yet, it seems difficult to engage in good interdisciplinary collaboration when research methods and background assumptions often differ widely. I suggest in this paper that a disposition to inquire into another person is essential to good collaborative research. I first explain what I mean by “empersonal inquisitiveness” and why it is important in interdisciplinary collaboration. Inquiring into a person serves as an important precursor to engaging in interdisciplinary collaboration, because it allows researchers to form shared frameworks and develop a shared plan for the research project. I then discuss social-cognitive mechanisms and their ability to generate knowledge of other persons. In the final section of the paper, I explain how social cognition can allow persons to engage in truly collaborative projects, in particular by way of shared mental models and shared reasoning. The result is that empersonal inquisitiveness, when employed by potential research partners, produces important empersonal knowledge that advances collaborative research.



(European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 2022)

Abstract:

Arguments from divine hiddenness attempt to show that God, as understood by traditional theists, does not exist. Eleonore Stump has claimed that, contrary to a key premise in such arguments, it is possible for God to have a personal relationship with human beings who do not believe that he exists. In this paper I describe Stump’s defense of divine hiddenness, as well as her account of the human will. I show that her account of the knowledge of persons does not solve the problem of divine hiddenness. I also argue that Stump’s account of the will commits her to the claim that nonbelief in God entails resistance to God. I conclude with a few potential replies and my own responses to them.


katherine.e.sweetATgmail.com