Thursday, July 11, 2019

DFW19: Rights and Logic in Wallace's Short Fiction

Matthew Alexander, Ben Zimmerman
Moderator: Daniel Leonard

Friday, June 28, 2019, 4:00 PM — 4:50 PM

Ben Zimmerman
Independent Scholar — Newark Academy

“Logical validity is not a guarantee of truth”: Quantificational Logic in “Good Old Neon”

I explore Wallace’s beliefs on mathematical truth-paradigms, investigating the symbolic representation of Dr. G’s (“Good Old Neon”) belief about “there [being] really only two basic, fundamental orientations […] (1) love and (2) fear.” In the tradition of Wallace’s senior thesis, I address Dr. G’s claim with quantificational/predicate logic and analytic philosophy – contributing original research.

Ben Zimmerman is a senior at Newark Academy high school in Livingston, New Jersey. He has studied philosophy in secondary school programs at Harvard and Columbia University. His essay “An Argument in Favor of Operative Truths” won PLATO’s (Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization) 2017-2018 National Essay Contest and was published in the Fall 2018 issue of PLATO’s journal, “Questions.”


Matthew AlexanderPh.D. Student — University of Liverpool

Verbalising Violence: A #MeToo and Animal Rights Reading of David Foster Wallace

In ‘Consider the Lobster’ (2004), Wallace not only “leaves the matter [of animal rights] unresolved” (Roiland 2012), for this paper suggests a link between animals and violence (primarily towards females) that is evident in Wallace’s fiction, when viewed via both Carol J. Adams’ (1990) “absent referents” and a #MeToo lens.

Matthew Alexander is a PhD candidate at University of Liverpool. His research interests are based around gender and gender relations in the works of David Foster Wallace, and his personal ethics with respect to animal rights activism intersect to widen his approach to Wallace’s corpus—resulting in the paper submitted.

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