Asaro-Niederlitz ’22 Presents Honors Work in Philosophy – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Asaro-Niederlitz ’22 Presents Honors Work in Philosophy

Juniper Asaro-Niederlitz ’22 presented her Honors research at the SUNY Oneonta Undergraduate Philosophy Conference this spring.

Juniper Asaro-Niederlitz ’22, who graduated summa cum laude in philosophy and environmental studies, presented her Honors work “Metaphysical Mendings: Returning to Western Puzzles with a Buddhist Perspective” at SUNY Oneonta’s Undergraduate Philosophy Conference in April. Her work in the field of metaphysics includes perspectives on both Western and Buddhist philosophy and was conducted under the direction of Assistant Professor of Philosophy Carol Oberbrunner.

“My approach is inspired by the work of Derek Parfit, who identifies a connection between Buddhist thought and the work of David Hume, arguing that we should subsequently reconsider our assumptions of the self,” Asaro-Niederlitz says. “Similarly, I argue that Buddhist thought indeed sheds new light on these Western metaphysical ‘puzzles,’ encouraging us to see beyond the dualities which we often assume, and to see validity in both conventional and ultimate truths.”

She further explains, “My argument culminates in a final metaphysical mending: a proposal that what is truly ultimate is beyond the ‘self’ and ‘other,’ and even beyond free will and idealism. I argue that Buddhist thought instead guides us to ultimate awareness – an awareness that permeates, and dissolves, all ‘things.’”  

Due to rigorous coursework and guidance from Oberbrunner, Asaro-Niederlitz says she was well prepared for her presentation.

“HWS has allowed me to explore a wide range of courses, which has helped fuel my desire to look at disciplines from different perspectives, and to appreciate the range of perspectives presented at the conference.”

On campus, she won the Hackathon competition twice, and came in second place as a junior. She was a member of the Dream Catchers club and the Laurel and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies, as well as the Writing Colleagues Program.

Later this summer, Asaro-Niederlitz will begin serving as project coordinator and administrative assistant to the senior vice president of operations at Touro College.