compos mentis


Two issues of compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics (ISSN: 2330-0264) are published every year. The January/February issue publishes articles written by undergraduate students affiliated with any institution in the world. The May/June issue publishes undergraduate papers that were presented as talks as part of the annual Michigan Undergraduate Philosophy Conference (MUPC). MUPC is organized by the University of Michigan-Flint Philosophy Club, and is co-sponsored by the University of Michigan-Flint Philosophy Department and the Center for Cognition and Neuroethics. The journal seeks to promote and showcase undergraduate philosophical works that address the philosophical significance of issues in the areas of cognition, neuroscience, neuropsychology, bio-, medical- and neuroethics, as well as the social, political, and legal implications of such matters. We encourage traditional philosophical treatments of these topics as well as papers using an interdisciplinary approach.


Call for Papers

This is an open call for papers; nonetheless, papers submitted should be relevant to cognition and neuroethics broadly understood. Topics can include any of the following, although this is not an exhaustive list:

  • Philosophy of Mind

  • Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, or general Science
  • Philosophy of Action (Free Will)
  • Identity
  • Philosophy of Psychology
  • Bioethics
  • Medical Ethics
  • Consciousness
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Memory, Learning, Belief and Knowledge

Here are just a few of the sorts of questions and ideas that we encourage students to write about: What is self-identity? Can you freely alter your own self-identity? Are there aspects of one’s personal-identity that it would be wrong to alter, eliminate or hide? If so, why? What is the proper way to conceptualize pain and suffering? Is all pain bad? How do other cultures, presently or historically, conceptualize the mind, belief, knowledge, pain? How do other cultures conceive of medicine, health and physical and emotional well-being? What is the proper role of medicine—to eliminate or cure illness or to enhance people (physically, morally, psychologically) to make them “better than well”? Should all illnesses or diseases be cured—why or why not? What are the limits (if any) of parental control over the health and well-being of the body and mind of their child? Do children have the right to determine whether or not they are subjected to medical or psychological treatments? Are there ever occasions when it is permissible (mandatory?) for third parties to make therapeutic decisions for someone? What are the social consequences of being regarded as diseased or ill? How are health, life and death, medicine, physical and mental illness portrayed in art, music, and in literature?



We ask that papers be between 4,000 and 7,000 words in length. Please include with the paper an abstract between 300 and 500 words and up to 10 key words/terms. Submit papers by email as a Word .doc or .docx file prepared for blind review. Include your full contact information in the email only. The purpose of compos mentis is to is to support and encourage the intellectual work of undergraduates, so everything submitted should be the work of undergraduate students only.

The deadline for paper submission is March 31, 2017.

Papers accepted will be published in the open issue of compos mentis: The Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics. For questions concerning publication format, please see the CCN Style Guide.



Volume 4, Issue 2

Benjamin Cline

Keywords: Self-deception, cognitive psychology, neurophysiology, emotion, cognitive dissonance, empiricism, psychology, error minimization (PEDMIN), unintentional, information processing, cognitive bias
Citation: . "A Psychological Account of the Formation of Self Deceptive Beliefscompos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 4 (2): 1–12.

Thomas M. DePietro

Keywords: Reductionism, Functionalism, Physicalism, Materialism, Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Belief, Cognition, Neurophysiology, Epistemology
Citation: . "Belief According to Reasons: Can the Brain Detect Truth?compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 4 (2): 13–28.

Cody Hatfield-Myers

Keywords: Boorse, Clouser, Culver, Gert, Mordacci and Sobel, Reductionism, Malady, Disease, Illness, Narrative, Health, Social Model, Medical Model, Normalcy, Stigmatization
Citation: . "Insidious Illness: A Criticism of Medical Reductionismcompos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 4 (2): 29–44.

Volume 4, Issue 1

Keagan Potts

Keywords: Enactivism, Perception, Understanding, Perceptual Presence, Fragility, Implicit Bias, Interpersonal Understanding, Alva Noë, Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Citation: . "The Revised Enactive Account: Interpersonal Understanding and Perceptual Achievementcompos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 4 (1): 1–22.

Ryan Powers

Keywords: Logical Fatalism, Saul Kripke, Essential Properties, Determinism, Joseph Diekemper, Time, Temporal, Necessity, Contingency, Aristotle, Modal Fallacy
Citation: . "Logical Fatalism: Origins as Essential Properties of Eventscompos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 4 (1): 23–32.

Lokita Rajan

Keywords: Conceptual Act Theory, Basic Emotions, Subjective Character of Experience, Nativism, Empiricism
Citation: . "Cognitive Theories of Emotion: Conceptualizing Pain and Sufferingcompos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 4 (1): 33–41.

Shweta Sahu

Keywords: Cognitive Enhancement, tDCS, Noninvasive Brain Stimulation, Authenticity, Safety, Responsibility, Implicit Coercion, Open Futures, Cosmetic Neurology, Treatment
Citation: . "Responsibility: Revis(ion)ing Brains via Cognitive Enhancementcompos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 4 (1): 43–54.

Christopher D. Schultz

Keywords: Consciousness, Reductive Materialism, Dualism, Scientism, Neutral Monism, Panpsychism, Neuroplasticity, DMT, Psilocybin, Religious Experience, Neo-darwinism, Theoneurological Models
Citation: . "Neuroplasticity, Nagel and nn-DMT: Where Neuroscience and Evolutionary Biology Meet Mystical Mathematics and Theoneurological Models of Consciousnesscompos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 4 (1): 55–66.

Laura Teal

Keywords: Free Will, Unconscious Actions, Moral Responsibility, Willpower, Attitudes, Schemas, Behavior, Social Psychology, Agency, Will
Citation: . "Unconscious Acts as Acts with Moral Responsibilitycompos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 4 (1): 67–75.

Albwin Wagner-Schmitzer

Keywords: Possible Worlds, Counterfactual, Reality, Fantasy, Self, Worlds, Ideal Worlds, Material World, Symbiotic Relationship, Picture of the World
Citation: . "Fantasy, Reality, and the Selfcompos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 4 (1): 77–89.

Volume 3, Issue 2

Charles Dalrymple-Fraser
University of Toronto

Keywords: Anorexia Nervosa, Bioethics, Consent, Egosyntonicity, Medical Ethics, Paternalism, Pathology, Pathological Identity, Personal Identity
Citation: . "Egosyntonicity as Pathology in At-Risk Anorexia Nervosa Patientscompos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (2): 1–16.

Thomas M. DePietro
University of Delaware

Keywords: Libet, Free Will, Choice, Decision, Action, Consciousness, Freedom, Volition, Voluntary, Neurophysiology
Citation: . ""Is Free-Will Defensible in light of Modern Day Psychology?"compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (2): 17–29.

Shawn Forquer
Grand Valley State University

Keywords: Cognitive Dissonance, Desensitization, Dream Function, Evolutionary Psychology, Fear, Implicit Learning Rehearsal, Sleep, Threat Simulation Theory, TST
Citation: . ""Waking From a Bad Dream: A Response to Threat-Simulation Theory"compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (2): 31–50.

Elena Sobrino
University of Michigan-Flint

Keywords: Autism, Disability, Biomedicine, Alternative Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine
Citation: . ""An Alternative Approach: Chinese Medicine and Autism"compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (2): 51–63.

Annie Zhao
Western University (Formally known as The University of Western Ontario)

Keywords: Gender dysphoria (GD), Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM), Mental Illness, Gender Identity Disorder, Feminist Theory, Transgender Issues, Sexuality
Citation: . ""Should ‘gender dysphoria’ be classified as a mental illness?"compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (2): 65–69.

Volume 3, Issue 1

Charles Dalrymple-Fraser
University of Toronto

Keywords: Advance Directives, Alzheimer’s, Applied Ethics, Dementia, Ethics, Future Planning, Identity, Personal Identity
Citation: . "Dissolving the “Other Person” Problemcompos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (1): 1–12.

Abigail E. DeHart
Grand Valley State University

Luke S. DeHart
Grand Valley State University

Keywords: History, Moral Sentimentalism, Adam Smith, Altruism, Neuroethics, Empathy, Ethics
Citation: . "The Philanthropy Machine: Neuroethics and Empathycompos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (1): 13–23.

Daniel P. Flavin
Hope College

Keywords: Partial Reference, Incommensurability, Kuhn, Causal Theory of Reference, Translation, Interpretation
Citation: . "Incommensurability and Partial Referencecompos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (1): 25–34.

Andrew Rydlund
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota

Keywords: Full-brain Death, Hylomorphism, Substance, Accident, Prime Matter, Substantial Form, Accidental Form
Citation: . "Seemingly Alive: Full-brain Death Is Deathcompos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (1): 35–45.

Rebecca Valeriano-Flores
DePaul University

Keywords: Causality, Identity, Ethics, Free Will, Determinism
Citation: . "Identity and Causality: Foucault’s Subject and Kant’s Third Antinomycompos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (1): 47–61.

Volume 2, Issue 2

Rachel Fischell
Duke University

Keywords: Pharmacological Enhancement, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Emotional Memory Consolidation, Propranolol, Moral Decision-Making, Personal Identity, Value of a Life
Citation: . "Ethics of Memory Dampening Using Propranolol as a Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the Field of Emergency Medicine." compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 2 (2): 1–14.

Tracy Graves
Ball State University

Keywords: Philosophy of action, positive and negative causation, rehabilitation, incarceration, punishment
Citation: . "Rethinking the Goal of Imprisonment." compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 2 (2): 15–27.

Joelle Hershberger
Bethel University

Keywords: Rationalism, sentimentalism, intuitionism, society, morality, moral psychology
Citation: . "Reason, Society, and the Social Intuitionist Model." compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 2 (2): 29–43.

Samuel Kratzer
Bethel University

Keywords: Virtue, character, situationism, agency, dispositions, preemption, sustaining social contribution to character, enabling and stimulus conditions
Citation: . "Are Virtue Ethics and Situationism Really Incompatible?." compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 2 (2): 45–58.

Maxim Perel
The Ohio State University

Keywords: Other Minds, Physicalism, Analogical Inference, Human Biology, Probabilistic Arguments
Citation: . "Revisiting the Problem of Other Minds." compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 2 (2): 59–67.

Andy Slabchuck
University of Michigan-Flint

Keywords: Epistemology, Know-how, Structure of knowledge, Gilbert Ryle, Regress, Propositional Knowledge, Intellectualism, Anti-Intellectualism
Citation: . "Chess and Regress: A Defense of Intellectualism." compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 2 (2): 69–78.

Jordan Tiffany
University of Michigan-Flint

Keywords: Autism, Alternative Medicine, Autonomy, Children, Medicine, Measles, Parents, Rights, Treatments, Vaccines
Citation: . "Should Parental Rights be the Final Judgment for Their Child’s Medical Needs?." compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 2 (2): 79–90.

Volume 2, Issue 1

Joel Anderson
Bethel University

Keywords: Situationism, Character, Virtue Ethics, My Lai, Abu Ghraib, Atrocity, Responsibility, Kantian Consistency
Citation: . "Kantian Consistency and Military Atrocity: Holding Military Personnel Responsible for Atrocity." compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 2 (1): 1–15.

Thomas Mann
University of Michigan-Flint

Keywords: Psychopathy, moral responsibility, moral agency, amygdala, serotonin
Citation: . "Morality, Psychopathy, and Responsibility: Can Psychopaths be Morally Responsible Agents?compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 2 (1): 17–34.

Areins Pelayo
University of South Florida

Keywords: Literary Criticism, Identity, Formalism, Romanticism, Postmodernism, Immanuel Kant, bell hooks, Nominalism, Nagel, Racial Bias, Gender Bias
Citation: . "Individuals, Identity, and Interest Groups." compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 2 (1): 35–42.

Kaylie Provenzano
University of South Florida

Keywords: Cognitive-Science, Cognitive-Functionalism, Neuro-Ethics, Rational-Logic, Aesthetics, Truth
Citation: . "Pursuit of Progressive Truths: Cognitive Functionalism." compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 2 (1): 43–62.

Paul So
University of Maryland

Keywords: David Lewis, Derek Parfit, Personal Identity, Tense Identity, Numerical Identity, Qualitative Identity, Common Sense Notion of Personal Identity, Formal Identity, Survival, and Fusion Paradox
Citation: . "Lewis’ Personal Identity." compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 2 (1): 63–72.

Volume 1, Issue 1

Elizabeth Arnold
University of Michigan-Flint

Keywords: Psychosomatic, mind, biomedical, placebo, cognitive psychology
Citation: . "Psychosomatic Illnesses: Philosophical Implications and the Current State of Research." compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 1 (1): 1–13.

Shouta Brown
Western Kentucky University

Keywords: Arpaly, Compatibilism, Conscious Will, Determinism, Free Will, Hume, Kane, Significance of Free Will
Citation: . "The Desirability of Free Will: The Value of the Concept Regardless of Its Existence." compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 1 (1): 14–24.

Kiefer Owens
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Keywords: Qualia, consciousness, physicalism, reductive physicalism, epiphenomenalism, substance dualism, functionalism, topic-neutral, ineffable, causal efficacy
Citation: . "Explaining Qualia." compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 1 (1): 25–34.

Tyler Rauh
University of Michigan-Flint

Keywords: Near-Death Experience, Out-of-Body Experience, Physicalism, Dualism
Citation: . "Near-Death Experiences: A Potential Problem for Physicalism." compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 1 (1): 35–44.


Editorial policies and content decisions for the compos mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics progress by collaboration between the University of Michigan-Flint Philosophy Club, select faculty from the University of Michigan-Flint Philosophy Department, and under the advice from the Center for Cognition and Neuroethics.


Faculty Advisors

Jami L Anderson
Associate Professor
University of Michigan-Flint

Simon Cushing
Associate Professor
University of Michigan-Flint

Bénédicte Veillet
Assistant Professor
University of Michigan-Flint


Student Editor

Cody Hatfield-Myers

Production Editor

Zea Miller