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Teelin Lucero ’16 Presents Research at Two Philosophical Conferences

By Monica Black ’19

As the year draws to a close, it offers a time to celebrate those students who are graduating and whose voices have left an indelible mark on the CC community. One such student is philosophy major Teelin Lucero ’16, who recently presented a philosophy paper at the annual New Mexico Texas Philosophical Society conference and the North Carolina Philosophical Society conference.

Lucero’s paper, “The Meaning of Tables,” focuses on the work of Martin Heidegger and Walter Mignolo. In it, she broadly criticizes the “hunt for some standard of universal meaning” across all academic disciplines, but focusing on philosophy. Using the work of Heidegger and Mignolo, who advocate for the less-than-universal “truth in parenthesis,” she argues that the world is a better place when truth is considered as a function of time and locale.

The aforementioned conferences where primarily feature the work of philosophy graduate students and faculty, and Lucero says that she felt both inspired and intimidated as an undergraduate student. Describing the experience as “stressful,” she also says that it was, “a pretty rare and amazing opportunity to have a roomful of people who could easily have been my own professors pay concentrated and serious attention to the work I'm doing.”

Lucero’s work on subjective meaning has dual implications. First, she writes about the idea of “truth in parenthesis” as a remedy to the nihilistic despair associated with a lack of meaning. “Turning away from the objective meaning of life, and instead attending to the activities and relationships that are unquestionably meaningful for the subjects engaged in them,” Lucero says, can aid in the dismissal of nihilism. She also writes about truth in terms of colonialism, asserting that belief in objective truth has historically led to the marginalization of peoples colonized by those intent on pursuing that truth.

The conferences were a boon to Lucero’s outlook on her career.

“Conversations with all conference attendees gave me a much clearer idea of what it means to pursue a career in philosophy,” says Lucero, “which is a very helpful experience as I am a senior this year.” After graduation, she will participate in a year-long Public Interest Fellowship Program (PIFP) fellowship at Innovations in Aging Collaborative, a senior outreach nonprofit in Colorado Springs. After that, she says she will consider pursuing a graduate degree in philosophy.

“I hope that more CC philosophy majors consider submitting their work [to conferences] in the future,” she says. “I think it is a very useful and enjoyable experience.”

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