Philosophy/Biology major and Honors student Joseph Montesano placed second in a very competitive nationwide undergraduate essay contest put on by The Center for Bioethics at New York University. The faculty of the Center for Bioethics served as the judges of the papers and picked two winners whose papers will be published in the spring 2019 edition of the peer reviewed undergraduate journal Medical Dialogue Review (published by New York University).
In the paper, Montesano tackles the philosophical question of whether anyone can have a duty to die. More specifically, he provides an original argument against Michael Cholbi's (Professor of Philosophy at California State Polytechnic University) Kantian account of the duty to die, which is one of the most popular and influential accounts in the philosophical literature.
Dr. Timmerman, Joe's instructor for Philosophy of Death, was quick to note that "what Joseph did was quite brilliant," saying "he was able to take the insights from the theoretical literature on the badness of death and use these insights to demonstrate that Cholbi's applied ethical view is subject to a devastating problem." According to Dr. Timmerman, "Joseph has made considerable strides in advancing the debate on euthanasia in his paper, which is no easy feat."
Montesano had similarly kind words to say about Dr. Timmerman, suggesting that "without Dr. Timmerman's help and fantastic course, [he] would have never been able to write this paper."
After completing his B.A. in Philosophy at Seton Hall University in just three and a half years, Montesano plans to attend dental school. He will take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) this summer, complete his coursework at Seton Hall University in the fall, and expects to start dental school in the fall of 2020.
Although philosophy may seem like an odd fit for someone pursuing dentistry, Montesano disagrees. When asked about the issue, he said "I strongly advocate for everyone in the sciences to take at least a few philosophy classes at the collegiate level. Although it sounds incredibly cliché, philosophy really does change the way you think about the world."